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The way we work is changing. At Arcadis, we are shifting the emphasis from ‘where’ to ‘how’, and in doing so needed a more modern, functional workplace that could flex and adapt to our evolving needs. When it came to the future of our workplace, we needed to create an environment that works for everyone. For us, this means providing a more inclusive experience; enhancing wellbeing; improving collaboration and innovation; and driving a culture of trust, respect and ownership. Arcadis has long been at the forefront of digitisation in the property sector, looking at ways to use technology and data to improve efficiencies, sustainability and the operation of buildings of all types. The way in which we approach our own office space is no different.
Our new London office at 80 Fenchurch Street (80Fen) has been designed as an environment for collaboration, creating social connections, and engaging with our clients.
We began with a series of surveys and workshops to understand the physical and digital needs of our people. From how often people wanted to come into the office, to how they would use the space once they were there, our user-experience design processes and tools helped to define the ideal employee experience, together with the intelligent building technologies that would facilitate it.
The result is a fully flexible, functional space built around the needs and preferences of our people. It will support the concept of ‘activity-based working’ by providing greater diversity of settings, with over 20 different types of workspace - ranging from open plan desks to collaborative and private workspaces, project areas, touchdown areas, call rooms and informal meeting area, in addition to a purpose-built innovation area and a flexible event space.
How are we using technology?
‘Smart’ features have been embedded as a key design principle, and the space is equipped with Arcadis’s own Building Intelligence software, which can help people find the right spaces for their tasks. A combination of a mobile app, room wizards, large interactive displays and dashboards all help to improve how people experience the space. From desk bookings to the ability to pre-order your morning coffee, the people-experience has been put at the heart of the design process. It also means that available spaces can be turned ‘on’ and ‘off’ as required, managing capacity and helping to reduce overall space requirements by over 30%.
When you combine flexible ways of working with the sensors, machine learning and management insights that come with Building Intelligence, it creates a rich picture of how the building is operating and how people are engaging within it. At 80Fen, we are recording 1.85 million data points every single day, which is fed back into our FM portal. The information allows us to flex our space and be agile in the different ways it can be used. Collecting data over time means we can test theories and adapt the environment where needed.
As well as enabling us to make the best use of space, Building Intelligence also means we can optimise energy and maintenance use and reduce the operational impact of the building. Sensors continuously monitor the indoor environment and help cut energy and water consumption, or turn lights off when an area is unoccupied. Meanwhile, air quality and thermal comfort sensors regulate the environment and ensure people are comfortable. This reduces energy needed for heating, ventilation and air conditioning by as much as 75%, and a 25% reduction in lighting energy.
Sustainability, health and wellbeing
80Fen has been designed as a place for collaboration, but also in a way that reflects best practice in sustainable design, and supports health and wellbeing. It features a range of social and wellbeing environments, including quiet libraries, coffee lounges, a winter garden and contemplation and wellness rooms.
The layout of the interior has been carefully orientated to maximise light and space, and we have introduced extensive biophilia, with over 1,100 plants, including air purifying species, throughout the entire workplace. We also have 26 environmental sensors to monitor pollutants, fresh air rates and noise, and have installed low-energy LED lighting systems, and products and finishes that minimise pollutants from the air.
When it came to addressing embodied carbon, during the fit-out process 97% of waste was diverted from landfill. In vacating our previous office, zero waste went to landfill. Aligned with circular economy principles, 61,000kg+ of equipment was reused or donated, for example kitchen equipment was donated to London based charity ‘Kitchens with Compassion’; and fourteen boxes of stationery to a local primary school and the Emmaus charity. Examples of re-used items include 450 monitors, stationery and crockery.
As one of only a handful of occupiers to sign a major lease in the City of London during COVID-19, we are committed to supporting business recovery and recognise that physical office space has an important part to play, particularly when it comes to collaboration, building social connections, and better engaging with our clients. However, it’s a different type of space that reflects the changing nature of the workday and our workforce.
In this respect, 80Fen is the embodiment of our strategy and ways of working, in which choice and flexibility are key. It isn’t just a one-time fit-out, it’s a step change in how we use and curate space. By putting sustainability and digital leadership at the heart of 80Fen’s design we can be adaptable to our clients’, colleagues’ and business needs.