Architect says move involved 650 staff across its seven offices

Architect Grimshaw has given all its staff the day off to mark yesterday’s World Mental Health Day.

The architecture giant, which employs more than 650 staff in seven offices around the world, estimated Friday’s gesture would cost it around £150,000.

But it said it wanted to acknowledge the impact the pandemic had had on people’s work and personal lives.

Mark Middleton

Group MD Mark Middleton said clients had been supportive of the move

Grimshaw’s group managing partner, Mark Middleton, said it was a genuine attempt to spotlight the issues and raise concerns surrounding mental health in the design and construction industry.

“The idea initially came from a staff member and was much discussed at operation group level,” he said. ”The cost of a day’s work to the company is approximately £150k so there is no tokenism at play here.

“We [didn’t] envisage any major risks and informed our clients and they have been supportive.”

The firm has also introduced a wellbeing app which it said helped staff reduce stress levels and manage anxiety, mental health “first aiders” and open discussion forums.

Studios which shut on Friday included those in London, New York and Melbourne.