Leading built environment consultancy, Arcadis, has moved from its Kings Cross HQ to 80 Fenchurch Street (80Fen), in the heart of the City of London. The move reflects an evolution in ways of working, in which a desire for choice and flexibility is represented in the availability of more than 20 different types of workspace.
Having designed and delivered the new office in partnership with Arcadis, we spoke to the firm’s global director for workplace, Martin Silvester, about the features of the new 40,800 sq ft purpose-built facility and why it has been shaped by the needs and preferences of its people.
- Leading built environment consultancy Arcadis has moved from its Kings Cross HQ to 80Fen, in the City of London.
- The move reflects an evolution in ways of working, in which choice and flexibility are key.
- Over 20 different types of ‘activity-based’ workspaces are available, designed and delivered by Office Principles.
Why did you move to the new office space?
It wasn’t a straightforward decision to move. We could easily have stayed at Kings Cross, as that was our heritage but we just felt that the space wouldn’t work for us considering the adaptations of our workplace model. We drew up a shortlist of alternative workplaces and test fits produced by Office Principles demonstrated the usability of space at 80Fen.
What does the move represent?
The move signals a fundamental change in Arcadis’s approach to its office estate. We’re placing an emphasis on ways of working that are increasingly shifting from ‘where’ to ‘how’. It comes as part of a global review we’re undertaking and represents an ongoing commitment by our business to embrace remote and fully flexible ways of working. That review began in 2020 and has since been reinforced and accelerated by changes resulting from the pandemic.
You conducted a lot of internal research before moving offices. What did that research tell you?
Our internal engagement surveys found that 70% of our people would like to visit the office between 1-3 days per week, post-pandemic. The office clearly still has an important role to play, but the data showed the extent to which people value sustainability, flexibility and choice. Nearly half of our employees reported that they would want to visit the office to work on specific tasks or projects with colleagues, and nearly 40% want to socialise and be part of a work community.
The approach at 80Fen has therefore been about enabling people to make choices that satisfy both personal and work commitments – and recognising that they are not set in stone and may change over time. Arcadians will have autonomy to manage where they work, in a way that best suits their needs.
Tell us a little bit more about the design at 80Fen.
Our new office at 80Fen has been designed as a place for collaboration, shared ideas and social interaction, but crucially it’s been delivered in a way that supports the health of our employees. It features a range of social and wellbeing environments including quiet libraries, coffee lounges, a winter garden and contemplation and wellness rooms.
The concept of ‘activity-based working’ is key. The new office space provides a far greater diversity of work settings than we’ve had access to before. There are more than 20 different types of workspace, ranging from open plan desks to collaborative and private workspaces, project areas, touchdown areas, call rooms and informal meeting areas. We also have a purpose-built innovation area and a flexible event space, all of which enable people to work as flexibly as possible.
How important is sustainability to the design of your new London office?
It’s incredibly important. In helping to deliver our new office, Office Principles applied the principles of both Fitwel Certification and the WELL Building Standard, which reflect best practice in sustainable design for the health and wellbeing of occupants.
Technology sits at the core of the new office, with ‘smart’ features embedded as a key design principle. We’ve used building intelligence software to incorporate a unified suite of apps, including environment and utilisation sensors, digital access, a branded visitor management system, and apps for mobile and digital signage. We also have touch-free desk booking systems and the ability to control individual temperature and light settings in enclosed spaces.
Not only does this help people find the right spaces for their tasks, but the resulting data also gives a rich picture of how the building is operating and how people are engaging within it. It means the space can not only be flexed in different ways but that we can lower operating costs and reduce carbon consumption too. Improving the performance of a building can reduce the energy needed for heating, ventilation and air conditioning by as much as 75%.
Why did you choose to work with Office Principles?
I first met Claire Stant at a Cooper Parry culture day, where she gave a presentation on workplace culture and strategy. I was really impressed and we spoke about how she could support our global strategy. We thoroughly vetted Office Principles’ ability to deliver a high quality fit out by visiting reference sites and talking to their clients; it was clear that they were a good fit for us. Claire did some thought leadership pieces for us and along with Hannah Nardini, delivered design work at a concept level. The whole project lasted just over a year and we found that the continuity of workplace consultancy advice to be really beneficial in selecting the right building and shaping what our workplace entailed. What was particularly impressive was that the team designed the scheme to a budget and worked really hard with their supply chain to find solutions whenever cost issues arose.
It is a process that has undoubtedly enabled us to deliver a flexible, inclusive, sustainable, and digitally-enabled new London base that reflects the changing nature of the work-day and our workforce. We believe that 80Fen will provide a blueprint for our future offices, both here in the UK and worldwide.
You can find the full Arcadis case study here.