North West businessman reminds employers they have ‘duty of care’ as thousands of offices permanently close
2 years ago
Sedulo chief Paul Cheetham-Karcz, who has suffered mental health issues, says decisions are being taken by ‘executives in five-bedroom detached homes with manicured back gardens’
The founder of a national financial advisory firm has reminded leading business owners “they have a duty of care” after thousands of offices and work premises were closed permanently during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Paul Cheetham-Karcz, who runs stunning Sedulo offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds, has expressed concern over why offices were closing – stating it was to do with money rather than looking after the wellbeing of workers.
He believes employers must be challenged to create an environment where staff want to work and think more about the people their decisions are having an impact on.
Sedulo prides itself on offering workplaces with a wow factor. Staff in the company’s new Liverpool office can frequent a bar, American diner or football room with heated massage chairs at every workstation. There is also a Victorian roof terrace with stunning views of the city’s famous waterfront available in the £1.4m premises.
Those in Manchester have similar provisions plus a rooftop gym is being installed while it’s the same in Leeds and even in London, one of the most expensive capital cities in the world, Sedulo staff are being moved into offices with features like a communal bar, gym and cinema room.
“I think we have to be very careful,” Mr Cheetham-Karcz said.
“As leaders we have a duty of care to the people around us. It’s convenient to think that people want to work from home, it reduces the need for large spaces and expense claims, it’s convenient to the bottom line.
“We need to understand most of the executives who will be making decisions too, will be doing so, probably from their five-bedroom detached homes with manicured back gardens.
“The people these decisions affect, often our professional trainees on their way up the ladder, are sitting in their town centre studio or house sharing, or indeed like me have a house full of kids.
“Professional service companies like Sedulo, have been largely unaffected by the pandemic, therefore we also have a duty of care to our ecosystem.
“We have a duty of care to the business community as a whole, the hotels, the sandwich shops, the bars and restaurants in our city. We also have a duty of care to the landlords.
“Since the pandemic we have clearly followed the rules, but Sedulo kept premises open wherever possible for those that needed it.
“I have suffered with mental health in the past and I don’t believe working from home is conducive to good mental health – for me personally and for many others.”
Mr Cheetham-Karcz expressed that isolated working will breed a culture of poor mental health and a dip in performance, due to workers being unable to participate in “feedback loops” he explained that are vital to progression and “the production of excellence”.
He added: “We have also thought about the working environment as a whole, and rather than pull back we have gone deeper in, we have made the environment of coming to work more appealing rather than less.
“We have started to negotiate and are ready to sign new 10-year leases on our properties and we have taken more space, not less.
“Sedulo has been unaffected so why not help support our landlords?
“We have upgraded our facilities with changing rooms and are in the process of installing a gym in our Manchester office. We have recruited two members of staff in each office from hospitality backgrounds, to service our staff and clients throughout the day during breakfast, afternoon tea and in some cases dinner.
“We’ve taken more space in London, and in Manchester and we have opened up in Liverpool, with a bar, American diner, rooftop terrace and series of themed spaces.
“Employers have a duty to their team to look after their well-being. In my opinion having them out of sight and working from home isn’t conducive to this. It’s also not conducive to a thriving economy, which needs bustling city centres.
“As a relatively unhit industry, we find ourselves in a fortunate position and we need to leverage this in order to lead the way back to normality.”
Sedulo Group is a world class advisory firm and investment house which was established in 2009. The business specialises in accounting, corporate finances, tax, wealth management and funding.