Bourne End Bucks
proof of the pudding
Our Employee Surveys, taken before and after the project, delivered these results.
Famously started by a young Richard Branson (now Sir, of course) from a phone box selling Student magazine in 1968, Virgin has grown to control over 400 companies around the world.
These businesses range from record companies and all sorts of travel operators including airlines, railways and space flight, to media enterprises including TV and radio.
Launched in 1988, Virgin Experience Days is the market leader in gift experiences, offering over 2,000 options for customers to choose from, including a wide range of unique, personal and exciting ideas.
Following a rebrand from Acorne, Virgin Experience Days needed a workspace that lived and breathed the famous Virgin ethos, while instilling the brand values in all staff.
Like us, the Virgin Experiences Days’ management team puts great emphasis on the wellbeing of people, so there was a natural synergy between us right from the initial brief meeting.
The client had two key requirements as part of their office design project. They wanted to change the culture of the company to be more aligned to the Virgin Experience Days way, with a much more emphasis on collaborative and agile working practices. They also wanted to foster greater cohesion between departments and encourage a more egalitarian culture.
As part of our detailed brief-taking process, we undertook an anonymous employee satisfaction survey. This highlighted key areas for change and ensured the client’s team bought into those changes by feeling involved throughout.
Inspired by their brand messaging ‘Prepare to get excited’, the front of house scheme now welcomes visitors and staff with a dynamic entrance that’s undeniably Virgin Experience Days. A ‘meet the family’ wall showcases photos of all the staff, putting the people behind the company centre stage.
With meeting room space at a premium, a compact area on the ground floor was optimised to create three themed meeting rooms; Fine Dining, Spa and Glamping. The doors to each were deliberately left understated with simple matching motifs as a hint to the surprises within. What’s more, every element was carefully considered to ensure they were immersive spaces, including bespoke joinery, lighting and flooring.
‘The Hub’ was created as the heart of the office, to bring everyone from across all departments together to eat, meet and leave their desks behind. This promotes organic cross-collaboration between departments in an informal setting. It’s become an extension of the workplace, offering an area to be proud of when welcoming visitors, and a dedicated breakfast corner, created as part of a Virgin Experience Days initiative to offer free breakfast to all staff.
Up on the first floor, radical changes were made. Key to these were removing private offices and bringing everyone together in an open plan environment. The management team now sits amongst the staff, promoting a top down egalitarian shift in culture. The focal point of this area is two large collaborative spaces with flexible furniture and large whiteboard walls to encourage regular team huddles and inspire an idea sharing culture. Soft seating provided across the open plan space provides yet more opportunities for agile working and informal catch-ups.
We undertook the whole transformation with the staff in situ. This avoided any business downtime, imperative for such a fast-paced enterprise heading into their busiest time of the year.
However, this didn’t prevent us from keeping many of the surprise and delight elements under-wraps, ahead of the big reveal!
Working closely with ‘Team Rev’ throughout the entire process allowed us to really become part of the Virgin Experience Days family. The synergy initially realised from that first briefing meeting meant we became fully immersed in the client’s team and brand, allowing us to create a cohesive concept and design, and deliver to brief.
Once the project was complete, we re-ran our anonymous employee survey to ask the staff the same questions, so we could measure the impact of the refurbishment. The results were amazing and included a 38% increase in motivation.
The client was so happy with our service, our process and the results, they allowed us to make a video capturing their enjoyment.