UK building and project consultancy Paragon has relocated our London office to Southwark. Here Paragon’s associate director Helen Jones explains she led our six-figure investment and fit-out.
As Paragon celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, our 91-strong London team is settling into its new surroundings after relocating from Oxford Circus to take the entire fifth floor of the Harlequin Building, Southwark. You can read more about the move here.
Key to the relocation was a six-figure investment and fit-out, led by our associate director Helen Jones, which included intelligent design features and spacing, shaped by the findings of an employee survey conducted by Paragon earlier this year.
Helen used all of her project management expertise normally reserved for client projects to drive the fit-out of the new London office, which included flexible, acoustically-protected workspaces, touchdown banks and a variety of formal and informal meeting rooms. It also features larger break-out and kitchen spaces, showers, cycle spaces and lockers.
Planning a fit-out
The internal survey was shaped specifically around design features for employees and location of the office. Helen Jones, together with colleagues Jamie Gould, Matt Donaldson, Dino Pashias, Kiri Harris, Lizzie Greaves and Sam Lorimer, then used the findings to plan the fit-out in line with employee feedback. Numerous people played a vital role in the move.
Helen said: “We knew that the Harlequin Building was a fantastic location and that was one of the main reasons behind taking the lease, but we also knew taking the entire fifth floor would give us huge potential to shape the internal design.
“Working as a project team, we listened to feedback, took on board the comments from our colleagues in the survey and designed a layout that would work for all employees. After a seven-week fit-out made possible through a collaborative working relationship with contractors Mica Projects, the team is now enjoying the benefits of the new office environment.”
The internal survey comprised ten questions, giving the project team a better understanding of working patterns, office use and individual preferences around room layout.
Helen adds: “There were some really interesting findings which had a direct impact on the design of the new office. For example, we found that 67% of the London team were in the office three or four days per week, so we knew we didn’t necessarily need to provide fixed desks for all staff.
“Instead, we provided 64 fixed terminals, of which eight are sit/stand desks, with up to 80 other seats that people can sit at and carry out work thanks to USB charging points, plug sockets and a fast WiFi connection. We also learnt that some people want to work in quiet, whilst others want noise and the energy of an open office, so we introduced different spaces such as booths, working pods, café-style areas and break-out spaces which appeal to all different ways of working.
“When it comes to meetings, we discovered we were having up to 90 meetings each week between the team, but the majority had less than four people. We therefore knew that smaller, flexible meeting space would be vital. Of course we listened to feedback about amenities too, introducing a series of improvements on the previous office including showers, bike stores and a nice big kitchen which can easily accommodate all staff.”
Helen adds: “We could not be happier with how the fit-out project went. Initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and we’re already enjoying the fantastic surroundings of this excellent location.
“Now, Paragon employees in London can benefit from a welcoming, carefully-considered office environment which encourages productivity and collaboration, situated in a great location close to the Thames with a host of local amenities.
“It’s nice to show clients, has been well received by visitors and we’ve noticed an uplift in the number of employees coming into the office to work too. We’ll be undertaking a post-occupancy survey after six months to get more detailed feedback, but we’re committed to supporting employee engagement and we’re confident that this office will have a positive impact going forward for colleagues in London.”
This year, Paragon is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Find out more here or join the conversation on social media.