Virgin Experience Days Project
|Location||Bourne End, Buckinghamshire|
Following a rebrand from Acorne, Virgin Experience Days required a new workspace that lived and breathed the infamous branding and ethos of Virgin, as well as instilling the brand values for all staff. The Virgin Experience Days brand puts great emphasis on the wellbeing of its employees, which is always the main focus of our design process so there was a natural synergy between us from the initial brief meeting.
As part of the rebranding exercise, the client wanted to change the culture of the company to be more aligned to the Virgin Experience Days way, with a much larger emphasis on collaborative and agile working practices. They also wanted to foster more cohesion between the departments and encourage a more egalitarian culture.
During this detailed brief-taking process, an anonymous employee satisfaction survey was undertaken which highlighted key areas for change, and ensured the staff bought into the changes by feeling involved throughout.
Inspired by the brand messaging that features on all packaging: ‘prepare to get excited’, the front of house scheme now welcomes visitors and staff with a dynamic entrance which is undeniably Virgin Experience Days. A ‘meet the family’ wall showcases photos of all the staff, bringing the people behind the company to centre stage, further strengthening the people focused culture shift.
To provide much needed additional meeting rooms for smaller gatherings, a small area on the ground floor was optimised to create three themed meeting rooms. The team allowed us complete freedom in designing these rooms, featuring fine dining, spa and glamping themes. The doors to each environment were deliberately left understated with simple a matching motifs as a hint to the surprise behind the door. Within the rooms, every element was thought about to ensure they were immersive spaces, including bespoke joinery, lighting and flooring.
‘The Hub’ was created as the heart of the office, bringing everyone from across all departments together to eat, meet and get away from the desk. This organically promotes cross-collaboration between departments by bringing people together in an informal setting. It now acts as an extension to the workplace, by offering an area to be proud of when welcoming visitors and also providing additional working areas for an agile environment. The Hub also features a dedicated breakfast corner, created as part of a Virgin Experience Days initiative, offering free breakfast to all staff.
On the first floor, radical changes were made by removing private offices and bringing everyone together in an open plan environment. The management team now sit in the open area with the rest of the team, promoting a top down egalitarian shift in culture. The focal point of the open plan are two large collaborative areas with flexible furniture and large whiteboard walls which encourages regular team huddles and inspires an idea sharing culture. Soft seating areas are located across the open plan space providing opportunities for agile working and informal catch ups.
To encourage staff to use the central hub, the old breakout area was removed and replaced with a drinks station within the open plan; this now acts as a space for the team to come together for quick coffee meetings.
The whole transformation was undertaken with the staff in complete occupation which avoided any business downtime, imperative for such a fast-paced business heading into their busiest time of the year. That said, many of the surprise and delight elements were possible to keep under-wraps from the wider team, ahead of the big reveal!
Working closely with ‘Team Rev’ throughout the entire process allowed us to become part of the Virgin Experience Days family. The synergy initially realised from the brief take meeting meant that we became fully immersed in the Virgin Experience Days brand, allowing us to create a cohesive concept & design, and execute the brief.