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The world of professional services has fundamentally changed over the last few years, and global leader, Grant Thornton, needed office spaces that reflect this transformation that provide a true destination for its teams. To bring this vision to life, the business turned to Peldon Rose to redesign two of its existing offices into creative hubs that support learning, culture and collaboration.
The way that Grant Thornton operates has been evolving for a number of years, driven by key changes in its sector and wider factors, including the pandemic, that influence people’s decisions over where they work. It was vital that the company’s real-estate strategy was able to adapt to support this new way of working, which required a complete rethink of the value proposition of its offices. The spaces in Oxford and Reading needed true purpose and the ability to support agile working.
Grant Thornton wanted to truly understand the wants and needs of its employees and so carried out extensive interviews with over four thousand employees. This then gave Peldon Rose vital insights to help shape the reimagined workplaces.
Ultimately, the findings showed the new spaces needed to be a home for learning, culture and collaboration, embodying the values of the company. Grant Thornton envisaged a network of creative ‘drop-in centres’, rather than traditional office models, to build an environment where the office is a destination and place of connection. A key consideration was maximising the efficiency of the space, and by making every sq ft work harder through careful design, Peldon Rose was able to create truly versatile and flexible workspaces.
Grant Thornton’s previous offices lacked the room to unite teams and facilitate smart working – two major considerations for the redesigned locations. With this in mind, Peldon Rose focused on two human-centric spaces, which support a more collaborative, flexible and social workplace strategy. Advanced technology, open meeting spaces, and further designated areas where people can come together were integrated throughout, helping to foster a team-oriented environment and reignite that connection amongst teams, even if they are not physically present.
New graduates are a key part of Grant Thornton’s business, so understanding how to welcome them was a primary consideration. Peldon Rose focused on supporting a model of mentorship, where open, collaborative spaces are conducive to peer learning, spanning all levels of seniority and expertise.
“The way we work has changed so much in recent years, and being able to have spaces that offer true flexibility is exciting and supports the evolution of our business. We can see how colleagues will be able to learn from each other in these new offices and they provide a fantastic home for newer team members who we can nurture as they begin and advance their careers. They are the future of our business and are responsible for a huge part of the innovation we’re constantly striving for, so being able to offer them a great place to work from, and learn in, is essential for our continued success.”
Whilst encouraging collaboration was a necessity, it was also important that the spaces catered for a variety of working styles. For those times when employees need a quieter space to concentrate, or for team members who are studying for their accountancy exams, library areas have been created, which allow people to work in private away from the standard desk sections. This not only offers a more secluded area away from the main office, but it also allows the space to be used flexibly, offering versatility for events and seminars as the furniture is completely moveable.
Cohesion was an important focus of the project, ensuring that both Oxford and Reading felt consistent, offering the same facilities and aesthetics, so employees can work from either location with ease. The colour scheme helps support this, with calming colours including soft pastels used across both sites, which helped to ensure consistency. With the environmental impacts of the design and build another key consideration, Peldon Rose upcycled existing furniture where possible, helping to reduce waste.
Georgia Nogas, Senior Project Designer at Peldon Rose, said: “We are delighted to see this project come to life. We approached it with a firm grasp on what Grant Thornton needed, two spaces that support this huge shift in the professional services industry while offering the flexibility needed. With the use of large, open communal spaces and the consistency across offices, featuring the same level facilities, employees have a clear choice between visiting either working location - knowing either way they’re guaranteed to have a productive day.”