We started working with Vodafone at the beginning of 2015 on a phased project programme across multiple Vodafone offices, including Waterside House, Thames House and Brook House in Bracknell and Smale House in London.
The series of projects support Vodafone’s ‘Better Ways of Working’ initiative, which pioneers a flexible working ethos. By breaking down hierarchal barriers and removing fixed desks and personal offices, the programme fundamentally challenges how people interact and collaborate by ensuring that no one has their own office, but that all staff, including the leadership team and Chief Executive, can take their laptops to work in any one of a number of workspaces.
The project required working closely with Vodafone’s facilities and ambassadors teams, as well as project managers Aecom, specialists in cost management MESH, and design consultancy Platform, to come up with a phased programme that did not interrupt day-to-day operations.
Working with the Aecom moves team, we cleared out each building, stripped back to shell and refurbished. Each building has been brought up to date with the installation of all new data cabling, communications rooms, new ceilings, lighting schemes, air conditioning, floor finishes and refurbished reception areas. These changes were all carried out without disrupting the complicated data infrastructure within each building; with fire alarms, security systems and power to the rest of the building, all kept running while the works were being completed. Major building works at Waterside House included installing a link bridge and external landscaping works.
Our approach to designing and delivering the mechanical and electrical services within occupied buildings - which included an abundance of legacy cabling infrastructure - was critical to the success of this project. We operated a strict permit to work system in conjunction with Mitie Facilities.
The new open plan workspaces across each site encourage communication, collaboration and planned serendipity, and comprise a range of breakout spaces and wellbeing areas, including state of the art gyms and roof terraces, which were installed to be used as both a working area and a communal space. New furniture has been installed, including soft seating for break out spaces; benches, chairs and tables for the canteens. All locations successfully sustain Vodafone's pioneering vision of creating a hive, which encourages innovative and productive work.
From the project outset, we needed to interpret the programme constraints and turn them into a workable solution. Mindful of Vodafone’s operational practices within each building, we provided and worked to a complex project programme, which flexed around Vodafone’s business needs. To ensure the programme was completed on time and within their requirements, it was important we had a joined-up approach with the rest of the professional team and collaborated closely with Vodafone.