Why paying the Real Living Wage is so important: In conversation with Second Home

We recently spoke to Head of Operations Manager Becca from Second Home. To find out why they pay the Real Living Wage and the ways in which it’s helped their business grow. 

Watch the video or read the interview below.

Tell us about the company you work for and the types of employees you employ?

We're a group of workspaces across London and Lisbon. We also have a site in North America in Los Angeles. I'm responsible for the day-to-day operations of all of our London and Lisbon sites. I'm responsible for all of our site teams, including our in-house cafes, all of our contractors and suppliers, including cleaning and operation staff. 

When did you decide to become a Real Living Wage employer? 

Thankfully I can say we have been a Real Living Wage employer since day one. So when we started the business seven years ago, we decided it was critical to us, as part of our mission. We wanted to make sure that our employees were happy and treated fairly. Basically, this is our ethical choice.

Why did you do this, why is it important? 

First of all, it's just about making the commitment. You just have to decide that's what you want to do. We've worked really closely with the Living Wage Foundation, who were able to offer advice and guidelines. But how did we actually implement it? It's really just a choice to do it and then work with your finance team.

How do your employees feel about it?

I think they're really pleased with it. Again, it suggests that we care that bit more. Living in such an expensive city, it's the least we can do. We're going to pay you a fair wage. For every employee, happiness is really key to us. 

Everybody's been through a really tough couple of years. And particularly our hourly-paid workers because in many ways, they have the least security. I work with a wide range of employees and some of them have the capacity to work from home. But, most of our hourly-paid employees don't. So just having that Living Wage has been so valuable to us. Because again, it says we can we care, we want to keep you and they have for the most part stayed with us. 

What benefits has it had for business?

The number one benefit and the most important thing is that it keeps our team really happy. It suggests we care about them that little bit more and we want to offer more than the bare minimum. 

Obviously one of the primary things is employee retention. We've been able to keep a lot of our front of house and reception team.

What other perks do you offer your team?

We also have wellness programmes in-house. We offer all our employees complimentary yoga, pilates, meditation, and boxing classes. We also have EAP, which is our employee assistance programme. This offers certain mental health support including professional counsellors, and we have our cultural programme as well. So that's a series of talks and lectures for help with mind-expanding. We also offer a discount on our bookshop as well so people can add to their own personal choice of reading and literature as well.

What would you say to other companies that are reluctant to do so? 

I would definitely say, work with the Living Wage Foundation. They're really helpful. There's lots of information on their website. And they're really hands-on, they can meet with you and discuss how to make it happen. But really, as I said, it's kind of a decision, you pick a wage, and then you can implement it.

Can you tell us more about Second Home?

Second Home is cultural and creative. It's a creative workspace and offers cultural venues. So we've got a real emphasis on creativity and bringing people together from a really wide and diverse background. 

We work really hard on curating our membership base to make sure people are working on really different projects and coming from really different backgrounds. So we have a real focus on design. 

You'll notice that our spaces are really beautifully curated with Biophilia. You'll notice there are a lot of plants and greenery and all of our spaces. And that's really because the more green we have, the more happy and productive we are as humans as well. 

Also, we have our cultural programme as I described earlier. That's really bringing in the level of education to our sort of offering. We really want to make sure that everybody is happy. 

Find out more about how to become a Real Living Wage employer and how to apply here.

Breakroom works with employers to ensure that you're always doing the best for your employees. Starting with paying the Real Living Wage.

If you need help attracting the best candidates for your business, click here.

Published on 6 April 2022