Breakfast Seminar: Pret A Manger

29 May 2018. News.

Last week, Pret A Manger opened their doors for our latest breakfast seminar, exploring the benefits of a strong workplace culture and the different ways companies can incorporate smart working into every day office life.

Chaired by design guru and journalist Katie Treggiden, our expert panel consisted of James Cannell, Creative Director at Pret A Manger, Steve Taylor, Project Director at Peldon Rose, and Workplace Consultant Hannah Nardini. The event was held at Pret’s Support Centre of 75B, Verde, 10 Bressenden Place in the heart of London Victoria.

During the event, our panel provided insight into how Pret embodies their brand and culture through their workplace, successfully connecting staff with their company history and ingraining core values into their everyday behaviours. We’ve highlighted a few key pieces of advice that came up during the seminar around workplace culture and smart working, which we would like to share with you.


Designing a space for everyone

One of the main ambitions behind the Pret office refurbishment was providing their staff with new working practises through a programme of change management. After an in-depth analysis of the old office design, we were able to design a space that would allow their staff to explore new working styles and efficiencies.

During the panel discussion, Hannah highlighted the importance of understanding the differences between generations and personality types. She spoke of how spaces needed to be focused around introverts just as much as extroverts, ensuring complete inclusivity.

This was a common consensus between the panellists and was one of the drives for James in ensuring everything in the 75B office was designed to be functional and have a purpose. Something grand or frivolous wouldn’t have meshed with the overall design.

By implementing smart working, Steve ensured that Pret maintained a diverse range of working environments and released people from the tyranny of staying at one desk all day. This has given people autonomy and trust which helps increase productivity and staff happiness.


Change challengers and champions

Not everyone is immediately willing to embrace chance, especially in an office environment. As discussed by Steve, change challengers and change champions are both essential for the success of a new workplace. Involving them and engaging them in the whole process through change management allows them to have a say and understand how all the spaces of the office work can hard for the business.

To help everyone adapt to new ways of working, Pret created the Rules of Engagement which are displayed on the walls of their office. One example is discouraging people from eating at their desks, instead driving them to the central timeline so they can be inspired to come together and be active in the Pret history and culture. The new office has already brought people together from different teams and broken down departmental barriers. Essentially, this new design allows employees the space to be as good as they can be.


The evolution of the workplace

Change doesn’t stop when a refurbishment is complete. Hannah explored the idea that companies need to be fluid and keep revisiting what they’ve done after a project has finished. Things such as technology will continually transform and evolve the workplace.

And Pret is prepared for that eventuality by continuously evolving their office. James explained that every few months they ask their staff how the office environment is working for them to see how it can be improved. As discussed by James, the office is built to support the shops, which sets them up for the next 30 years and inspires success amongst their employees.


Allowing a closer look at the Pret office design

Following the seminar, guests were taken on a tour of 75B, exploring the striking 30-year journey of the business which lives and breathes their history in architectural form. The key office feature highlighted during the tour was the Pret timeline running through the heart of the office, which includes a blue plaque celebrating the historic significance of 75B, a Victoria tube sign commemorating their birthplace, and a pink neon sign from Pret’s very first shop at 75B Victoria Street. This continuous piece of bespoke graphics and feature pieces celebrates their achievements and their culture, and inspires all the great things that are still to come.


If you are looking to relocate or refurbish your office and would like advice on successfully introducing your workplace culture and smart working, get in touch to discuss how we can help you on your project.

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