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Teleperformance opens its new Baltic Place offices in Gateshead

Posted on April 2, 2015 by Charles Marks

According to a recent report by property consultancy GVA, the largest commercial property deal completed on Tyneside during 2014 was the 28,300 sq. ft. letting of a new office for Teleperformance at Baltic Place in Gateshead. The relocation of Teleperformance to the new building is not just important because of the scale of the deal but also because of what it says about the changing face of the North East and the role of new developments such as Baltic Place in attracting global high tech businesses to the region. All of these forces came into play when it came to designing the new building for Teleperformance.

Teleperformance is a true global giant in the world outsourced customer service sector. It has a turnover in excess of $3 billion, operates 270 contact centres in 62 countries and employs around 149,000 people worldwide. It is exactly the sort of business Baltic Place was created to attract. Baltic Place consists of two eleven-storey towers offering around 130,000 sq ft of office space. The development sits alongside three of the most iconic structures in Gateshead including the Sage Music Centre, Gateshead Millennium Bridge and the Baltic Arts Centre.

facilities managementWhat is clear from its choice of Baltic Place is that people are at the heart of Teleperformance’s business but so too are the places they work. That is why when Director of Facilities Stuart Jones drew up the strategy for the relocation to Baltic Place, he knew working with the right firms and attention to detail were essential. “As always planning is key,” he says. “From a commercial point of view, we had no leeway with the dates on which the centre was to go live which meant co-ordination not only of the built environment but the technological infrastructure too. Communication is essential. Not only with the firms involved in the relocation and refurbishment, but also with staff members so they understood the thinking behind the move and their roles within it.”

Stuart commissioned Fresh Workspace to carry out the fit-out of three floors of the landmark Baltic Quays building. The project was completed as part of a twelve week programme of work with a fixed end-date to ensure that Teleperformance was able to offer its clients a seamless transition to the new centre. It was important that the move was virtually undetectable from the customer’s perspective.

Works incorporated a range of mechanical and electrical alterations and additions including the provision of a stand-by generator, cooling and fresh air. The full fit-out comprised the specification and installation of partitions, doors, power and data cabling, new furniture, flooring, feature lighting and security systems.

“When it comes to air conditioning call centres have a unique set of challenges,” explains Stuart Jones who is responsible for fifteen Teleperformance contact centres in the UK and overseas. “Unlike most workplaces we have one hundred percent utilisation of workstations so the presence of those people and the equipment they use mean we need a workplace that has a carefully designed cooling and ventilation design. This is a business critical issue because we have to create an environment that ensures people have the right level of comfort.”

Because Baltic Place is accredited to BREEAM Excellent status, all work was carried out to exceptional environmental standards, including the installation of a 550kVA stand-by generator on site. Similarly, the fit-out of a new, intelligent fresh air and air conditioning systems means that, although the new design is based on increased occupancy levels than the building was originally designed for, staff enjoy a more comfortable and productive working environment while the building itself adheres to its own outstanding green credentials.

This human-focussed approach is also evident in the main office suites. At the heart of the newly created workplace is core office and contact centre space based on an open plan design model but supplemented by a wide range of training, meeting and conference rooms, breakout space, a cafe, shared hubs and a comms room.

“They may be based in the office more than people in other professions but they have the same needs for a variety of work settings,” says Stuart. “So the building incorporates meeting and training rooms, break out spaces, kitchens and so on. There are practical reasons for the inclusion of these settings but we also believe people should have somewhere they like to take time out, chat with colleagues and eat well.”

Stuart believes that such outstanding results are only possible when everybody buys into the ideas behind them and understand their roles within the process and can share information and work alongside people from a range of disciplines. “Fresh Workspace epitomised this open approach,” he says. “They listened carefully to what was needed, worked closely with us as the project evolved, shared ideas and offered what we needed and then delivered exceptional service levels. Nothing was too much trouble.”