eCommerce specialists, Salmon, deliver powerful ecommerce experiences for leading brands, helping them transact more online. Their inspirational working environment - a five-floor commercial new build - uniquely supports their working style, marking an exciting new chapter for the business as they continue to grow.
Their new 28,000 sq ft office in Watford centres around creativity, inspiration, collaboration and fun. Over a 12-week build programme, the office design was driven by an in-depth workplace analysis which helped to create a human centric environment inspired by their specific ways of working. The workplace consultancy element of this project was key. The analysis provided us with valuable data which we used to develop an intelligent design, tailored to the people at Salmon. The office layout has been designed to create purposeful collisions between people and encourage knowledge sharing and idea generation across the business.
The new Salmon office features a range of environments for staff to choose from and looks to support the behaviours of their people. Throughout the building the company values uplift the space and promote the Salmon brand in a subtle yet defined way. The staff have access to facilities, such as table tennis and a roof terrace which shows Salmon’s commitment to creating an inspiring place to work.
The office at 36 Clarendon Road is a five-floor commercial new build, which meant our design had to promote staff integration and communication. To prevent the workplace and its people from becoming disjointed, there was a need for a centralised meeting point that would bring people together and form the heart of the business. The organisation has an even split between extroverts, introverts and ambiverts so it was crucial to design a balanced environment that supported different working styles.
The Heart Hub is a tea point and breakout space which sits on the third floor and forms a natural centre for the business. An output of the workplace analysis was that staff behaviour was diverse, so there needed to be spaces that accommodated for this. The Heart Hub forms a relaxed space perfect for collaboration, that encourages collisions and gives staff a place to have a break or informal meeting. This diversity and choice of work space is used throughout the rest of the environment and we have provided multiple work spaces on each floor where staff can work alone or collaboratively. High benches, meeting booths and soft seating help to keep the environment less cellular, as well as encouraging more opportunities to integrate with people.
The office relocation presented Salmon with a vehicle for making sure their talented teams and working culture shone through. From looking at the data from the workplace analysis, we could see the kind of spaces which staff would benefit from most, and how it would help build the culture. From meeting rooms named after pioneers in computing to the Innovation Lab as a designated space for testing the latest technology, the new office is designed to support, inspire and nurture staff.
The Playroom on the ground floor is an example of the new type of space which provides staff with an area to relax in away from their desk. Staff can join in yoga classes and have fun at work by playing table tennis or games consoles. By making this part of the office a destination away from the main office floor, it allows people to disconnect and integrate with different people from across the business. Salmon also wanted to bring out its company values and make sure that people understood what it meant to be a part of Team Salmon. As you enter each floor, you are greeted by a branded partition which shows you which floor you are on, the teams you can find there as well as one of the key company messages. It serves as a clear reminder of the brand and the reason they do what they do.
A crucial step in the design process was the time we took to learn about Salmon before we began any design work. By engaging with the client at an early stage, we had the opportunity to build a picture of what our client needed through workplace analysis. This meant our design for the space was being informed by real data, enabling us to create a workplace that aligned with staff behaviours.
We carried out two weeks of observations and audited over 41,000 activities that took place during the workday. During this two-week period, we held workshops to involve the different departments, people and teams to stage elements of our design ideas and mood boards. We gathered all the feedback and used it to help shape our concept designs and guide the overall direction of the new office design.
When we first met with Salmon’s project team, they had specified that they needed more meeting rooms as they were always booked. However, one of the key outtakes from the workplace study was that a large proportion of meetings only had 2/3 people in them and weren’t lasting a full hour. Through looking at the frequency and usage rates of the meeting rooms, we could see that there were more practical ways of working. We reduced the number of meeting rooms and added in more multipurpose spaces, so that staff could interact with the space, and work comfortably from anywhere in the office.
Some of the data we were looking at included where people were meeting, how many people were in each meeting, where the movement was within the space, how many staff were in the office each day and what days were busiest/quietest. We also carried out furniture and filing audits to measure the effectiveness of current storage and to assess the opportunity to reuse existing furniture.
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