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Life at Princes Parade – Griffiths and Armour – 12 months on Post Occupancy Review

Life at Princes Parade – Griffiths and Armour – 12 months on Post Occupancy Review

  1. Would you mind explaining what you hoped to achieve from the relocation?

  2. At our previous office, we were based over five floors which meant that not all the departments operated as efficiently as they could. The opportunity to integrate the different teams was a significant one and something that that we needed to maximise. We have always operated as a professional and efficient business. When designing our new office, we knew that we wanted to make a statement with our new office that reflected the type of business we are. With our new building, we are no longer restricted by the limitations of our previous office. This was a once in a generation opportunity that meant that we bring the team together. A key theme of the design was integration, one of the big changes was combining IT and Marketing. Communication is now much, much quicker instead of communicating via e-mail

    We wanted to make the move transformational for the business and this was a key detail of the brief that we challenged Aztec with. You can physically see the impact that the new office has had on the staff. The dynamic of how people work within the business has changed. A key detail of the change is that now you can see each member of the team. Previously went a meeting took place, you didn’t know if your colleague was down stairs, upstairs or out the building. Now there is visibility of where people. You can physically see if they are in the office. It is possible to walk over to their desk and have the conversation and get the information you need there and then.

  3. What has been the most surprising outcome of the relocation?

  4. The sense of pride of the team. People are now proud of their office and are only too happy to have visitors come to the office versus arranging to meet elsewhere. The views that the building has to offer was something that we wanted to ensure was captured. To compliment the views, we knew we had to ensure that we utilised the space properly. From the reception to the meeting rooms to the staff canteen. The previous office was located in the city centre, so staff had a full range of eateries within walking distance. We wanted to create a better sense of community within the new office. So, the canteen needed to be inviting and an enjoyable place to spend your lunchtime. Visitors to the office always comment as do the staff to the quality of the canteen and how it works for us as a company as views are just beautiful from the windows. The Mersey is quite active with interesting boats and cruise ships. The staff love the location, we even have staff who have downloaded apps to see what the Mersey is up to – you feel immersed in the environment. We have a diverse range of clients including Architects, Insurance Brokers, Professional Service providers. We believe it to be high praise when, we have Architects who have visitors and said how impressed they are with the specification and design. We have even had one Architect say that the Griffiths and Armour office is his favourite office he has ever visited.

  5. Has there been a team within the organisation who has benefited most from the transition?

  6. The biggest change that we have seen from the relocation is for the marketing and IT departments. We have found that staff now appreciate the roles that their colleagues undertake. It wasn’t completely visible previously, but now they can see the intensity and significance of the positions that their colleagues perform. The whole team feels more integrated. The partners benefited from the move. They are more visible and more on hand for the team to speak to. We have found that the company is performing slicker across all departments.

  7. Would you say there has been a cultural shift within the company thanks to the new office?

  8. We always collaborated as a business, there is a refreshed vitality to the way we work. In our previous office. You could say realistically that the meeting rooms were only occupied roughly 20% of the time. Now in the centre of our floor plate at Princes Parade, the team must schedule their meetings in accordance with their availability as they are so popular. That is not to say there is a shortage but functioning as they should as an important part of what we do. Different departments who could days without seeing other people within the business are now at the core of our new office. The old building wasn’t a true representation of the team we are today in terms of the standard of service we offer our clients. The new office has been a truly positive contribution to the way the work. We say there are two routes in and out of London, not just in. Our office is an attraction that brings the top talent to our company.

  9. Your previous office was split over many floors, what’s it like now you’re all working on a single floor?

  10. It’s fair to say the business is now ‘connected’. The design has culturally enriched the way we work together. There is a greater sense of connectivity between the different individuals and different teams within the business.

  11. Have there been any parts of your business process that you have been able to change thanks to the new office environment?

  12. We had the opportunity to bring together the Marketing and IT into one single, internal team as there is a synergy between the two team. This created an efficiency gain thanks to the awareness of what each team is doing. We have insurers working together in the communal space. What we have found is that less people wish to work from home due to the facilities that the office has to office. This is better for us as a business as stronger relationships are formed and the team functions better as a collective.

  13. How have the staff settled in since the move?

  14. Very well. The issues that remain are universal having many people working under one roof. There is not a one size fits all when it comes to the ambient temperature in the building. If there is one niggle, it would be it is a little bit further away from the train station than our previous office was. If that is the only reservation about the move, I think it is fair to say that the transition was pain free and we are delighted with the finished product.

  15. What have your visitors said about your new office?

  16. The consensus is resoundingly positive. The acoustic pods are particular popular. We have had auditors come through the front door looking to replicate some of our ideas. The design was an evolution of thought between our senior management team and Aztec. We went through a process of consultation with the team and tried to take on board as many of the comments as feasible that would be a benefit to the company. We had time to plan the design the new office properly. No aspect of the process was rushed. The space functions perfectly for us as a business now and for the foreseeable future. We can say with confidence that the design was right, the brief was absorbed by the designers and fulfilled as per our expectations. People within the office use each area as the architect intended. Meeting Rooms are often full. This just highlights the success of how we are trading on our 9th year of professional growth. The meeting rooms being occupied just shows that there is a willingness to invite people, even encourage people to come visit the office. This creates opportunities for us as a business and has a positive impact on working day. We needed an office that when clients come to visit it gives the right impression of the business. We didn’t want it to be to brash or too ostentatious What a wanted to maximise the lovely view and wanted to encapsulate a measure of quality.

  17. Are there any standout features that you really enjoy and use?

  18. The staff truly find that the kitchen is a standout feature in the office. They use it as a social hub where different departments, who may not have previously had the opportunity to meet other people within the company. It is a place where people who were previously based on different floors share the same space and come together. We have had visitors come into the office and comment on how aesthetically pleasing the space is. When we first signed the lease, we had reservations on having the large Oak Doors on show in a prime position in the office. The suite was designed to blur the doors into the background. There was a significant investment in the reception, but first impressions last. So, it needed to be designed right. We were very fortunate at the time of the design to have had Nick, who has recently retired able to spare so much of his time on the design. What Nick brought was over 40 years at G&A, who understood every single fibre about the company to create this professional nirvana. It needed a single point of communication from our side, who had the authority to make the calls as and when they needed to be made. There was a great synergy between Nick and Aztec and that is why the project was such a success.

  19. Has the new office enticed new recruits to the company?

  20. I would say that Griffiths and Armour already had a well a strong, well-earned reputation within the industry. The new office certainly contributed positively to the brand. We made a calculated investment in our new work environment. The previous office was past its best. It was a little run down, a little bit shoddy. In was time for change. At best the previous office was neutral, it was failed grandeur We are a modern, professional business with over 80 years’ experience. The office needed to say that.

  21. Has the new technology helped the company perform more efficiently?

  22. The team are located much closer now, which means increased efficiently. The company has always been IT efficient. With the new office, it was the right time to invest in the hardware and the infrastructure of the business which helps us collectively move forward.

  23. If you were to do it all over again. Is there anything you would have like to have done differently?

  24. For a business-like G&A, we benefited from investing top level time from within the company. The project and the process needed to demonstrate value on so many levels. Not everyone would have that luxury. So, if we were to do it again, we were happy with the design, happy with the contractor and happy as to how we approached the move. The main challenge was undertaking the relocation in addition to the day job, so we were pleased to have the right professional support in the form of Aztec. It is not something to approach thinking it is going to be easy; it takes a lot of commitment. We had the right people in place to scope out the location of the new office. Early agreement with the contractor was key, as they provided support on all technical matters associated with the building. We now have a more streamlined and more efficient building that we are delighted with.

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