Open-access content 3rd November 2008
EC Harris's new building was the catalyst for change which resulted in reductions in operating costs and a transformation of working culture
by Adam McNestrie
06 November 2008
BIFM Awards Winner: Impact on Organisation and Workplace
The internal EC Harris FM team did the workspace planning and brought together design work by Swanke Hayden Connell, ICT by Mitel and fit-out by Overburys.
The new building was to be a catalyst for the way EC Harris people were working with an emphasis on controlling the structure's whole-life costs. This meant designing-in cost saving and efficiency measures.
The design of the office was to appear more like an airport, with "landside" and "airside" features including a focal point and hubs, clusters of desks, enforced socialisation with both break-out spaces and quiet rooms.
Maximum use is made of natural light by design. The building is completely controlled by BMS and is split into 50 zones. Each zone can be individually heated and lighted. Lights in meeting rooms have motion sensors to turn them off when the area is unoccupied. Similarly, lux sensors turn lights off when natural light reaches acceptable levels.
Filing was reduced from 3,500 linear metres to just 840. Document management is now extended to archived items kept off site and no new items will be archived. Document scanning rather than photocopying is encouraged, even though copying is all double-sided.
Around 99 per cent of waste is recycled and paper consumption has been cut by 30 per cent. Energy consumption has been cut by 120,000 kwh and recyclable furniture and carpet tiles have been specified.
Just over 900 employees have access to 540 desks, making the ratio around 2:1. But implementation of Mitel's ICT networks with VOIP means hot-desking has been successful. Staff on any hot-desk can log into their own phone and call up their own desktop computer. Staff can forward to each other landline and mobile calls.
Only two cellular offices exist in the building - for the chief executive and the chairman. Staff have commented that senior management is now more accessible to them, less insular. The result, too, is improved team working, cross-service integration, transfer of knowledge and application of experience.
Because shower and locker facilities have been provided, 5 per cent of staff now cycle to work. Occupancy costs are down 20 per cent on the old Lynton House and are set to fall further still.
A more than hoped for, staff attrition rate has fallen by 36 per cent and attraction rate of new recruits has doubled. FM, traditionally a high turnover area, has not lost one staff member since opening over a year ago. Neither has anyone left an FM contractor's delivery team.
SIEMENS UK HQ, SIR WILLIAMS SIEMENS SQUARE
The relocation of Siemens UK HQ allowed the company to create a modern environment and introduce energy-efficient ways of working, changing the culture of the organisation. The 'Project Light' scheme reflected the fact that natural light floods through the campus. BDGworkfutures designed the new UK HQ, a 17, 000 sq m, four-building campus in Frimley housing 1,600 employees.
The campus is a fully integrated showcase for Siemens products and services. Specific features, such as the weather and light level tracking blind and lighting system, have been designed to support energy saving.
SCHRODER INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT - PROJECT INVIGOR
Schroders is one of the hundred largest companies on the London Stock Exchange. Its nine-storey building at 31 Gresham Street in the City has around 1,000 staff working in a traditional environment, down to dark wood, marble within identically laid out floors. Even its small central atrium was dark and echoing.
Project Invigor was, "to blow away the cobwebs" to create a more "vibrant and self-assured" community of employees. The creation of the main employee hub of the café and areas for meeting and talking has injected a new personal and social ambience into the building. Particular attention was given to creating a more open and welcoming reception area.