Our ESG thought leadership

We surveyed our residents in 2022 to gauge their overall wellbeing and to listen to their views on what our operating brand, Hello Student could do better to make the overall university experience more enriching and welcoming. To address their feedback, we spent 2023 rolling out a new wellbeing programme. 

Wellbeing 2 Photo

Regular third-party surveys tell us that the quality and design of student accommodation, as well as the level of personal service provided to residents, has a marked impact on students’ overall wellbeing. Likewise, we know that the health and wellbeing of our customers is central to their satisfaction with their experience in our accommodation.

We always strive to provide space and support which enables our residents to feel their best, both physically and mentally, with extensive wellness amenities across our city clusters and 24/7 access to health and wellbeing support via our operating brand, Hello Student’s on-site support teams.

We recognise, however, that there’s always more to be done. We surveyed our residents in 2022 to gauge their overall wellbeing and to listen to their views on what we could do better to make the overall university experience more enriching and welcoming.

What we learned was that 46% of our residents said they struggled with stress and anxiety, and 26% with loneliness. While we know that these feelings are somewhat natural for young people moving to a new city and starting their higher education journey, we also recognise that our accommodation can play a huge role in helping residents meet new people, destress and adjust to university life.

That’s why we spent 2023 rolling out a new wellbeing programme to address this feedback.

We designed a new programme of events for our residents, aimed at bringing our customers together more frequently and building a stronger sense of community. With our high proportion of re-booking year-on-year, we also enlisted the help of current students to welcome new residents on the summer check-in day, building early relationships between students of different ages and establishing an informal support network to help new customers adapt to university life.

We also began a programme to further improve our amenity provision, offering more flexible space to facilitate social study and creating a more communal atmosphere in our accommodation.

Additionally, to reinforce our commitment to wellbeing across the business, we appointed a dedicated Wellbeing Manager last year to dial up mental health training for first aiders at all our sites.

The feedback we have received after the first year of this refreshed wellbeing programme has been extremely positive. Both current and new students reported that the new check-in process was fun and rewarding, while we’ve also seen significant qualitative improvements in our student wellbeing surveys:

The proportion of our residents who feel their accommodation team care about their wellbeing rose from 68% to 74%, and 76% said that their accommodation has an overall positive impact on their wellbeing, up from 64% in 2022 and above the 63% benchmark for all UK private halls of residence.

Crucially, students reporting a strong sense of community in our accommodation saw an incredible improvement from 37% to 63%, and the number of students struggling with stress and anxiety or loneliness also started to improve to 40% and 22%, down from 46% and 26% respectively the year before.

We also received Platinum Operator certification from Global Student Living, the highest accolade attainable, and improved our Net Promoter Score to +32, surpassing our target of +30 for the year and more than doubling the industry average.

Clearly, there’s still more work to be done, and our wellbeing programme is far from finished. We’re committed to continuing to fight against stress, anxiety and loneliness in our accommodation. The positive feedback received from the 2023 programme and our ongoing outperformance of the all-halls average in this space is hugely encouraging. We’re confident that our students will continue to feel material improvements to their health and wellbeing, as we further dial up our focus on our customer experience.