Leeds

OneSubsea

The Brief

OneSubsea, a Schlumberger company, delivers integrated solutions, products, systems and services for the subsea oil and gas market. It operates in several countries, including the UK. Their Leeds office, located in Stourton, was until recently a manufacturing site employing over 900 blue- and white-collar staff. When the decision was taken to demolish the factory and convert the site into a knowledge-based facility servicing the rest of the global network, 360 Workplace was tasked with remodelling the office building in line with its new function. The challenge was to transform a workplace rooted in the traditions of the industrial past into an efficient and engaging 21st century environment supportive of its occupants and conducive to productivity. A diverse workforce of more than 300 people had to be integrated and accommodated in an ageing, sprawling building designed for a time when clocking in and spending the day at a desk was the norm. The most important factor was managing the needs and expectations of the stakeholders and employees. The demolition of the factory, which had followed the establishment of a joint venture between Cameron and Schlumberger to create the new company, had created a mood of uncertainty. The shift in identity and purpose, away from manufacturing towards a modern knowledge-based service culture, was disorientating for many.

About:

Workplace Consultancy

Where:

Leeds

Size:

20,000 sq ft

 

What We Did

A key objective, therefore, was to create an environment in which veteran employees with several decades of service, those with technical and administrative backgrounds, and younger people accustomed to new ways of working would feel comfortable, valued and engaged. This would not only lift morale and create a sense of unity, it was essential to attract and retain the best staff.

360 Workplace began with a process of consultation, ensuring that managers and employees alike were on board with the aims and objective of the refurbishment. Interviews and workshops helped to establish people’s attitudes towards their roles and environment, and garner a mood of cooperation and trust. The findings were vital in informing our proposals and ensuring the outcome would satisfy everyone.

The resulting scheme uses the building much more effectively. Excessive space has essentially been mothballed, with the working areas rationalised to bring people and teams closer together. Old-style offices and personal ownership of space have given way to a task-based, multifunctional layout which promotes communication and collaboration. Presenteeism has been replaced by two new watchwords: visibility and accessibility. Opportunities for mobile and quiet working have been incorporated, and technology upgraded to suit the functionality of the space.

Where possible the existing furniture and fittings have been repurposed, cutting down on costs and waste and retaining an element of familiarity for longer-serving staff, although beneficial innovations such as height-adjustable desks have been introduced. A fresh new aesthetic generates a sense of energy – a buzz that was not present before – complemented by natural tones and finishes as a nod to the building’s heritage.

The Outcome

The design incorporates a strong wellbeing component to bring people together socially and demonstrate a commitment to their health, welfare and enjoyment. There is a free gym and wellbeing suite with extended opening hours, and a stylish, subsidised catering facility with nutritious menus has replaced the old canteen. 

The new, enriched workplace is appealing to everyone, cutting across gender, generational and cultural divides. It retains the best of the past while embracing necessary change, looking ahead to a dynamic and flexible future.

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