Staff at Philips’ UK HQ have successfully transitioned to their new agile working environment, a culmination of many months of research and preparation. Located in Guildford adjacent to the company’s former offices, the new facilities achieve 30% greater density while offering a vastly improved environment for the flexible workforce. Spread over two floors, the offices feature open plan and sit-stand desking, meeting rooms, new dropdown collaborative areas, breakout spaces and focus rooms.
KI has helped Philips create the happier, healthier, high performing working environment with its range of UK designed and manufactured furniture products including:
- UniteSE workstations
- Work2 Sit-Stand workstations
- Meet4 collaborative tables
- 800 Series Storage lockers
Research & analysis for an informed workplace strategy
Prior to the relocation, extensive research was conducted around how the 530 staff utilise their space. The new environment was planned specifically to enhance the company’s flexible working culture while simultaneously introducing agile working. With the exception of selected roles such as the order desk, who require non-standard IT or telephone systems, the office is arranged into neighbourhoods of unassigned desks. Pedestals have made way for lockers, and desk phones have been eliminated. A clean desk policy is in place, each position furnished such that anyone can sit anywhere at any time. The provision of approximately 10% sit-stand workstations throughout the office reflects the company’s health and wellbeing brand.
Working within Philips’ internal guidelines and learnings from the group’s HQ’s in other countries, the team at Guildford teamed up with designer Stuart Aitken of TDA Interiors to bring the new headquarters to life. Warm red, and cream shades abound in the main office areas, complemented by neutral greys and white. Blues and greens distinguish ‘away from the desk’ spaces such as meeting and focus rooms.
The project’s success can be greatly attributed to the early research and planning that was carried out. One example of where this directly improved the outcome can be seen in the provision of fewer traditional meeting rooms in the new office, replaced by focus rooms, and more casual collaboration and breakout areas. The 22 focus rooms created, allow quiet work and meeting space. Better suited to user needs and more space efficient than traditional meeting rooms, they are designed for no more than 2 people at a time, offering privacy and isolation when required.
Stuart comments: "This was a huge project for Philips as they were relocating from 50,000sq ft, down to about 35,000sq ft without any reduction in staff. This was achieved by working closely with Philips’ Workplace Innovation (WPI) programme. The creation of neighbourhoods meant that working adjacencies could be maintained, together with the addition of focus rooms, breakout spaces, and bookable meeting rooms. This ensured that staff are never too far away from finding a quiet working space if required."
Effective change management brings everyone on the journey
The change management process undertaken in the months leading up to the move included working closely with champions from across the diverse workforce. Feedback, consultation and tours of the new facilities during the construction phase were all part of a programme to ensure that all employees could hit the ground running from day one, confident and familiar with the new space and new workstyle. FAQs were posted on the company intranet, and pilot furniture layouts were set up in the old building. Information sessions were held to reassure those nervous that they might not be able to find somewhere appropriate to sit in an agile workspace. Post-occupancy surveys have revealed an overwhelmingly positive outcome. Some individuals have had the opportunity to meet colleagues they otherwise would never have interacted with, while others expressed that they were happier than expected.
Finding the right furniture partner
With a clear idea of what furniture was required early on in the process, the team was able to focus on finding the right partner to help realise the vision.
Stuart Aitken continues: "We worked closely with KI when assessing and selecting the new workstations. This was a key part to the project as we were reducing the footprint of the desks from the old 1600mm corner cores, down to 1200mm rectangular desks set within a bench format. KI set up sample desking at Philips’ old office to facilitate detailed assessment by Occupational Health and IT, which passed with flying colours. We also incorporated a number of KI Work2 Sit-Stand desks into each working neighbourhood so as to give staff the flexibility and choice.
Also, as part of the Workplace Innovation programme, staff were no longer to have individual pedestals, but were to have an assigned individual locker. The KI 800 Series lockers were selected due to the robust build quality and the flexibility, including KI’s ability to spray the doors in a variety of carefully selected colours that complement the overall design of the office.
Working with KI was a pleasure, the dedication of the team was fantastic. This was apparent from the initial visit to the showroom, right through to the installation teams and the after care service provided once Philips had moved into their new space."
Yvonne Hanson-Nortey of Philips, comments: "KI’s furniture got the balance right for us - great quality and design, local manufacturing and excellent value for money. The end result speaks for itself, the products selected have a value that extends well beyond basic functionality. They come together to create an overall workspace that communicates a strong message to our team, that their working environment isn’t an afterthought. KI’s customer service has been excellent throughout the process, from delivery and installation to ongoing service and maintenance. Timely and efficient, any issues are quickly resolved. The expertise amongst the team at KI give us confidence that we are working with a reliable partner, not just a furniture supplier."