Zuleika Mason of Woods Bagot on the importance of well-being in the workplace
Well-being is the pursuit of balancing our mind and body, with the goal of enhancing our mental and physical fitness. It transcends position, gender, ethnicity and background and encourages us to focus on how we look after ourselves and others.
We spend much of our time in work environments. Considering both our own well-being and that of our colleagues supports strong and positive working relationships, reminds us to look at the bigger picture and fosters a healthy work life balance.
There are many factors that make the Middle East a unique place to work: it's challenging, exciting, fast-paced, diverse, energetic. A focus on well-being is important in such an environment. Caring for yourself provides a platform to enhance what you can offer and, I believe, creates a resilient and thoughtful workplace.
Sharing ideas and steps to well-being are inexpensive and an important part of our daily life. It creates camaraderie, promotes interaction, nurtures ideas and talent, engages giving back, and ultimately creates the best version of you."
Our underlying ethos at Woods Bagot is People Architecture: design based on how people actually use space. The well-being of our team is an important extension of this, creating the best environment we can for our staff to thrive, communicate effectively and be their true selves.
Everyone is different, we all have our own unique interests, attitudes and views. Finding a variety of ways to engage with the many different personalities in the studio and encourage ways to well-being is important to ensure all are included.
We are very privileged to have enthusiastic and dedicated studio social and CSR teams who are never short of sharing imaginative ideas. Our recent Adopt and Plant day to help improve the office environment and boost staff mood was very popular. We were keen supporters of the Ramadan Fridge Share initiative, and proud to be able to give back to the community.
Celebrating, sharing and supporting our team’s talents and achievements of all positions and seniority showcases their exceptional skills and inspires others to try new activities and encourage the thinking that everything is possible. For example one of our interns, Midhun Mohan, recently won first prize in a live art competition, his painting capturing a moving and personal story of the shepherds of Dubai.
Highlighting achievements across the board continues with two of our principals winning Principal of the Year at the Middle East Architect Awards in 2016 and 2018. With a high percentage of female employees within our Middle East Studios (51 percent) plus staff of over 17 nationalities, our Dubai studio was proud to be shortlisted for an industry Gender Diversity Award in 2018, firmly acknowledging our rich studio culture.
Well-being should be high on the agenda for all companies, along with a dedicated well-being champion. With enthusiasm and the will to make a positive difference for yourself and your team you can achieve great things. Sharing ideas and steps to well-being are inexpensive and an important part of our daily life. It creates camaraderie, promotes interaction, nurtures ideas and talent, engages giving back, and ultimately creates the best version of you.
Zuleika Mason is an associate at Woods Bagot, Dubai.