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Case study: Imagine Cruising’s Wiltshire headquarters

Posted on May 4, 2016 by Fresh Workspace

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IMG_4455Growth and change always create welcome problems for successful businesses. One of the most common for all firms as they thrive and grow is creating the right sort of working environment in which they can flourish. This is not just about finding enough space, but also the right kind of space. One that fosters creativity, productivity and wellbeing, inspires customers and employees and meets a wide range of key business objectives. The added challenge for fast growing companies is that they often must make these changes quickly but without disrupting the core operations of the business. They may be making these changes, but the customers shouldn’t notice. That was certainly the challenge that faced Imagine Cruising when it found that it had outgrown its existing headquarters building. The firm is a Wiltshire based online holiday firm specialising in cruises in worldwide locations. It has built the business by creating an award winning website and call centre operation, building strong relationships with operators such as Cunard and P&O and delivering excellent customer service.

Its success and growth meant that in 2015 it needed to relocate its core operational and call centre functions to a new 14,000 sq. ft facility in the historic town of Royal Wootton Bassett near Swindon.

IMG_4461“We’re a worldwide business with offices in Cape Town, but we have strong links with the local community in Wiltshire and know what a great team we have, so we knew we had to move within the local area,” explains Nick Webb, IT Manager of Imagine Cruising who was tasked with handling the creation of the new offices. “But we also knew we had both a limited time frame to manage the move and had to do so within a six week window and without disrupting the business. We might be undergoing a period of huge change, but that was never to become an issue for our customers.”

The solution was to work with a firm with a proven track record of not only delivering outstanding results in a fixed period of time but also able to understand the needs of their client and manage projects quickly, efficiently and sympathetically. “Fresh impressed us from the off,” says Nick Webb. “They understood straight away that we had a wide range of important objectives for the relocation but none of them were to be met at the expense of the core business. Fresh not only demonstrated to us that they understood this but also reassured us that they were the right people for the job.”

The end result is not only an example of outstanding modern contact centre design, but also proof that project management capabilities are just as important as design sensibilities in jobs of this kind.

The same balance of objectives is evident in the design of the new offices. So while the majority of the space is reserved for Imagine Cruising’s customer service and sales teams in open plan space, the need for them to take a break is also catered for with the provision of an eye catching breakout space in the main office space.

IMG_4466Over the past few years the breakout space has become a staple feature of many offices. Just how hard we can find it to merely switch off from work for short periods of time was uncovered by a recent poll carried out by the BBC which found that 20 percent of workers felt under pressure to avoid taking proper breaks and over half routinely worked even through their lunch breaks.

The design of the physical environment can play an important role in ensuring that people take real breaks. The contact centre operations at Imagine Cruising mean that customer facing staff can be busy on their phones and computers for extended periods, making the opportunity to take a proper break a priority. The solution was a bespoke chill-out zone alongside the main work area to allow people to take a real break from work. The finished solution incorporates a range of natural forms and finishes including fabric sails, a wooden floor, pebble shaped seating, muted colours and subdued lighting to give people every opportunity to take a proper break.

“We’re delighted with the outcome”, says Nick Webb. “It was one thing to ask for the provision of workstations and fit-out in the fixed time period we had, but to create a designed solution that is so imaginative and fits with our company’s identity is truly outstanding.”