London office makeover
Creating a desirable and sustainable place to work
11 May 2023
We’re excited and proud to unveil our renovated London Office! Home to around 300 of our employees, the dramatic makeover has made it a truly desirable place to work. While all our offices are modern and bright, we felt that since it had been over 15 years since we’d moved in, it was time for a refresh. So that’s exactly what we did!
The way in which we work has changed dramatically since we moved into One London Wall back in 2006. Before we started the project, we were keen to understand from each of our Business Units how our needs have changed in light of modern agile working. Ideas flew in from all London staff and our wish list was soon extensive… from the practical suggestion of “more meeting room space”, to the amusing idea of “a ball pit and slide” (there’s always one!). However, aside from all the ‘nice to haves’, we knew this was also a fantastic opportunity to address some of our longer-term strategic and sustainability goals too.
One key consideration was the environmental impact of the project, which ended up forming a huge part of our design. We looked at all the ways we could use this project to have a positive impact on our world, and started out small:
- Repurposing as many furniture items as possible and sending anything else for re-use.
- Giving stationery to local schools and community groups rather than throwing it away.
- Donating unclaimed jackets and clothing to local charities.
But this soon evolved… Our contractors told us about the SKA rating accreditation offered by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) - an environmental assessment for commercial fit-outs. An independent assessor reviewed every aspect of the project, focussing on eight key metrics:
Three SKA ratings are possible – Gold, Silver, and Bronze – we knew from the outset that we would be pushing for Gold. We made a commitment to make the fit-out as sustainable and environmentally-friendly as possible. From the design of the lighting and ventilation system, to the choice of materials for the finishing touches, every aspect of the project has been approached with sustainability at its core.
On reopening, it became clear that the project has been a strategic success. Staff have access to a large open plan kitchen/social hub, a variety of different seating areas, meeting rooms and touchdown spaces. The number of people now choosing to come into the office testifies that we have clearly met the needs of our colleagues. Glowing feedback is coming in from our clients too – meeting rooms are fresh and inviting, and our visitors can help themselves to a coffee whilst working in our reception space. We also opened up a window overlooking London Wall with great views of the Barbican towers, which floods the space with natural light making it far more welcoming.
So staff and clients are happy… but what about our environmental impact? We’re delighted to share we achieved Gold! The final report confirmed that we’d “designed a contemporary modern day office that surpasses the standards required by regulations and incorporated innovative solutions that minimise the environmental impact of the office.” We’ll proudly take that!
Only a handful of re-developments receive a SKA Gold rating, so this accreditation is a real accolade. Some key achievements from our assessment report are noted here:
- 99.1% of the waste generated from the project being diverted from landfill.
- Environmentally-sustainable and ethically-sourced materials and furniture used across the fit-out.
- Old furniture sent for re-use or repurposed within the new design.
- Implementation of energy-efficient lighting, which will reduce energy use and lower operating costs by more than 30%.
- Water-efficient kitchen fittings.
Increase in air quality and ventilation – covering everything from the use of environmentally friendly paints and varnishes, through to improved ventilation reducing the risk of infection by airborne particles by more than 70%.
A huge well done to all involved! We hope you’ll agree it is a wonderful space and all the better for being completed carbon net zero!