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Case study: how the refurbishment of an office shouldn’t disrupt your business

Posted on January 23, 2018 by Fresh Workspace

The refurbishment of an office is always a critical time for any organisation. Not just in terms of getting the right results, but in ensuring that the work is carried out in a way that does not disrupt operations. And for an organisation that is essential for the lives and wellbeing of millions of people, it is absolutely vital. So, when Thames Water approached Fresh Workspace to carry out a programme of work at its Langley base, it was in the knowledge that Fresh could not only design and fit-out the office to an exceptional standard, but also carry out the project in a way that would not disrupt the firm’s operations.

Thames Water is the UK’s largest provider of fresh water and water treatment services. It supplies 2.6 billion litres of drinking water to millions of people, households and businesses daily, and treats another 4.4 billion litres of wastewater per day.

The team responsible for providing smart meter technology to customers is based at the firm’s contact centre in Langley, near Slough. It has recently identified a need to create a working environment that better supported staff in their work with customers.

Following a competitive tendering process, Thames Water chose Fresh Workspace as the partner for the refurbishment of its office. Fresh were chosen for their track record of providing innovative solutions based on close partnership with clients and ability to deliver great results on time, and to budget and with absolutely minimal disruption to a client’s day to day operations.

The Fresh team developed a concept based on bright, open plan offices with an array of shared space, meeting rooms, collaborative team and break out spaces as well as a prayer room and new kitchen. As well as dedicated workstations, there are also a number of hot desks for job sharers and field staff.

The scope of the project covered the design of the refurbished offices and an ongoing programme of fit-out including desking, seating, carpets, display boards and storage. Fresh sourced products from some of the world’s foremost office element firms including Spacestor, Mobili, Interface, Frem and Frovi to create an interior that matched the needs of the Thames Water team.

“The facilities have always been good,” says Customer Operations and Resolution Manager Kerry Duke, “but we knew we could do much more to give people a better place to work and also develop a better and more progressive working culture. As always, we were constrained to a certain extent by the size and type of the existing premises so what became evident was the need to design a workplace that transformed the way we work.”

“It was evident Fresh Workspace had a clear grasp of what we were looking to achieve in design terms,” says Kerry. “But we also needed a firm we could trust to do the work on time and to budget. We never lose sight of the fact that we are central to people’s lives and wellbeing, so this kind of project needs to be seamless.”
The solution also needed to be flexible. As well as the 150 staff based at the Langley office, there were an additional 30 field based staff who needed to be accommodated in the redesigned space.
After briefing Fresh Workspace on the needs for an open, collaborative working culture, the Fresh team developed a concept based on bright, open plan offices with an array of shared space, meeting rooms, collaborative team and break out spaces as well as a prayer room and new kitchen.

As well as dedicated workstations, there are also a number of hot desks for job sharers and field staff.

One particularly innovative solution was the use of circular desk configurations to create an organic layout that reflects lines of communication and encourage open, collaborative work.

The vibrant colour scheme is based on the corporate palette but not obtrusively so, according to Kerry. “We wanted a clear corporate identity but also to focus on providing staff with a space that kept them engaged and motivated and allowed them to take time out and work with colleagues when they needed to.”

That much is evident from the fact that Kerry’s team were named as the Best Newcomer at the 2017 WOW! Awards. The WOW! Awards is the only independent awards process for great customer service based purely on customer compliments

It’s recognition not only for the work of the individuals in the team, but also the approach of Thames Water in providing great customer service. Customers may often be unaware of the many facets of infrastructure and hard work from dedicated professionals that are needed to help them lead their daily lives, but the award is well deserved. It is also testimony to the way a great workplace and seamless project can add value to an organisation and its customers and demonstrates how Fresh Workspace can be an important part of the corporate success story.

A PDF of this case study is available to read online and download here.