London Office Design – Shepherds Bush Housing Group

6th August 2019

Office Design Case Study: SBHG

SBHGMoving offices is a significant investment for any business, and we are proud to have worked on some incredible projects over the years across a variety of sectors including; media, banking, finance and technology with a strong portfolio of projects for housing associations.

Throughout our time in the industry, we have built many strong relationships with our clients. And at the core of our business is Rapport. We believe it is a crucial component to the successful outcome of a project, from a clear brief.

In particular, Rapport was integral to two for Shepherds Bush Housing Group (SBHG) including SBHG HQ and SBHG Craft Court. We sat down with David Blackburn, to talk through his time at SBHG on the projects and to understand the learnings and effectiveness of both projects. David, as Director of Business Support, was key to the success of the project supporting internal communication between staff, management and the delivery team.

David, what learnings did you take away from working with Rapport on the Shepherds Bush housing projects?

Your office accommodation is one of your most valuable assets. Over the life of your tenure, you need to ensure you manage the space in a way that is responsive, affordable, sustainable and safe; leveraging the floor plan as a tool to support organisational culture and assist in the delivery of ever more efficient and effective services.

An office move can seem overwhelming, especially when you may be consolidating several sites or locations into one. The size and scale of a project can be daunting. What you need to do is break down the entire project into its many parts: the design; the floor plan; the flow of the working space; the furniture; the IT; the removals – the list goes on.

To do this effectively, you need a partner that you can trust to be your eyes and ears when you can not be everywhere at once; who has understood and interpreted your ideas to ensure the final product lives up to your expectations. That is what working with Rapport is like: no detail is too small to be overlooked and so you can be fully confident that come moving day your staff will be walking into a fully functioning beautiful working environment.

How significant was having a project manager to oversee the design and build process?

It is hugely important and plays a crucial role in both maintaining standards and managing costs. Rapport brings their extensive experience, knowledge and expertise and can challenge and question decisions and proposals during the vital development stage.

  • How do we drive efficiencies through our accommodation strategy?
  • How do we enhance the capability to adapt to change and work in a more agile way?
  • How do we best enable access to people, information and amenities?
  • How do we achieve consistency of workplace quality?
  • How do we ensure that any changes result in a safe and secure working environment?
  • Rapport can help you get to the iteration that is the one you envisaged – rarely is the first set of plans the final one or indeed the right one!

Refining, polishing and then driving the delivery timetable is what makes project management so valuable.

How important were the workshops provided during the design process for staff?

SBHGIf I were to highlight one essential element, it would be engaging your employees as early as possible and getting them to understand the project. The more people are involved and excited, the more they will contribute to its overall success and help refine and shape your design. The design of the open-plan working environment should be dynamic enough to enable staff to choose from a range of work settings.

Staff should be encouraged to use technology to give them the flexibility to use the whole building as their workstation. No one knows better what they need than the people doing the actual roles.

Engage with your reception staff about the reception area. Talk to people about their offices; work out what people do in break-out areas and how they use the kitchens – this means that the final project has had input for everyone that provides a space that everyone can be proud of.

What’s your advice to organisations if they’re working to a specific budget while relocating?

If you are working to a specific budget, then engaging the service of an expert project manager is essential – you can not do this on your own in my experience. Nor does working with a pure Design and Build company always help as every iteration or amendment may have cost implications. What you need is a project manager as a partner who can keep your costs where you need them.

What advice would you give to companies who are looking at a significant move involving staff from various sites into one workspace environment?

Plan, plan, plan and have a lot of labels! Seriously, this is all about proper project management and great movers. You need a sequenced timetable and an overview of all of the moving parts: people, furniture, IT, phones, filing – and what need to land when to ensure that everything works.

You should also see this as an excellent opportunity to have a spring clean – resist the urge to move redundant equipment and files from one building to another. Also, use it to re-think how you use your working space – creating various communal and collaborative ‘hub’ areas that can be used for multiple purposes is the basis of modern working environment design. Particular work requirements dictate the delineation of space – so you could create both distinct spaces for high-concentration/quiet work and prominent collaborative ‘hub’ spaces where staff can interact and socialise. While space optimisation is a crucial goal, the environment is essential in developing good staff morale, driving greater collaboration and thus improving productivity.

Research has shown that staff will work more productively when they can choose an appropriate setting to suit their particular job requirements.

To speak to us about your office move, design or fit-out contact us on – 01252 712590 – info@rapport-solutions.org.uk

To view our portfolio of work, click here.