BT Better Workplace Programme London, Bristol, Sheffield, Dundee , UK
BT is radically rethinking its estate to create a new generation of people-focused workspaces, with agility and wellness design principles at their heart. We have been appointed to BT’s framework to work across The Better Workplace Programme, which will consolidate BT Group’s UK footprint from more than 300 locations to around 30.
The Programme will support BT’s vision and values across multiple business lines, creating a workspace experience that is inspiring and connected, encouraging a community-led approach to creativity and innovative thinking. The concept creates connections between the brand, customers and individuals, enhancing how the BT team communicates with one another and their everchanging audience.
Our work with BT brings together strategic and creative thinking, with work ranging from advice on building acquisition and due diligence, to detailed design delivery in key locations. This involves working on BT’s “Hub” workplaces—the largest central offices—and other strategic properties across the UK.
A major “Hub” project we designed is BT’s new London HQ, a new 328,000 square foot, 18-storey building near Aldgate East Station. The first phases will be delivered in late 2021, with project completion in early 2022. Alongside this project, we worked with BT to establish a “Future Ways of Working” strategy. This gives BT departments a number of hybrid working models to choose from to calibrate the agility of their workspaces, depending on the specific activities of each team. These distinct team ‘neighbourhoods’ are complemented by “connect” floors, which offer a range of co-working and collaborative workplaces.
The London HQ encapsulates many qualities that BT promotes throughout its estate. The office embraces agile working, moving away from cellular offices. Wellness is woven throughout the design, with “community” floors with café and restaurant spaces for socialising, and quieter spaces, such as the multi-faith and contemplation rooms. We consulted with BT’s “Able 2” network, which promotes accessible design principles, to create inclusive spaces—both in terms of physical access and neurodiversity.
Physical and visual connections are key to the design of the London HQ. We added a new staircase to the base-build to connect levels five up to 15, encouraging physical movement between floors and the different spaces the contain. In the double-height reception, which is animated by café and retail spaces, visual connections with the customer-focused “showcase” floor on level 1 are made.
The London HQ includes a Customer Showcase experience (opening in March 2022) and a BT / EE retail concept store adjacent to the main entrance at ground floor. The spaces activate the buildings arrival experience, focusing on customer and colleague experience and brand immersion. They have been designed as community spaces where customers can discover and experience BT’s technology and innovation as well as exploring and showcasing latest product and network development projects.
We are also working with BT on their new home in Bristol, a 13-storey waterfront development close to Bristol Temple Meads station. The Assembly Bristol building—part of the growing Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone—will offer state-of-the-art facilities for more than 2,000 BT colleagues.
Our work included strategic briefing, due-diligence and acquisition for the Bristol project. The culmination of these services will be a new building that fits BT perfectly, now and into the future. The detailed design of the project builds on the success of the “Future Ways of Working” strategy, with the same range of spaces as well as flexible and people-focused approach guiding the design.
Our other projects with BT include offices in London, Sheffield and Dundee, which are in the early stages of the design process.