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National fit-out and refurbishment specialist Wates Smartspace has completed a bold office transformation at the Wates Group’s Head Office in Leatherhead, to reflect the type of working environment businesses may be looking for as they begin to welcome colleagues back.

The objective of the project was to create a modern, dynamic and flexible working environment, allowing more effective collaboration and reflecting what our people want from an office space in the future. 

Designed in collaboration with HNW Architects, the new office has been created with the main objective of supporting employees with their reintroduction back to office environments from working from home, offering them an informal, flexible and collaborative space. 

It comes as Wates responds to employee feedback about what they want from office spaces when lockdown comes to an end, as well as the company’s introduction of new flexible working principles which aim to enhance employee well-being and productivity. 

The new office was designed and procured in 10 weeks and delivered in under one month, with features including interactive conferencing hubs, bookable workspaces, breakout areas and collaborative meeting areas with an emphasis on space and the more social aspect of being at work. 

Touchdown areas include pods and ‘co-labs’ with video conferencing and enclosure systems with acoustic curtains for optional privacy. A designated gathering space has also been designed for seminars with the latest MS smart hub technology. 

The office’s aesthetic includes 3D acoustic screens and a muted approach to company branding, with subtle nods to brand colours in keeping with the office’s more relaxed atmosphere. 

Scott Camp, Managing Director of Wates Smartspace, commented: “We embarked on this project at a time when our return to work was, and is still, very much front and centre of mind for many people. It has been the perfect time to interrogate how we do things – to take a progressive approach and look for a better way. 

“We had an open mind with the design; it’s not a response to office trends but rather our own personal view of what we would want from a workspace and flexing our creativity in this way has been a very liberating process for the team. Our offices should serve as our arena where we’re inspired to get into ‘work mode’ and to us that is a move away from traditional, arguably clinical, environments to spaces that are much more invigorating.  

“What we have created at the Wates Group’s Head Office is a pilot office space, a bold test that we will inevitably critique as we start to understand more about our working practices in a post-Covid world. Working culture is evolving and so will our workspaces. That’s a very exciting prospect for our industry.” 

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