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Office design for an investment bank and a fast food delivery company are completely different: apparently not

Workplace Week 2019 took place from 11-15 December, where we were allowed through the doors of some of London’s most innovative and creative workspaces for a ‘behind the scenes’ tour. Our Workplace Week blog series takes a look at the workplaces we visited and the ways of working of businesses including Deliveroo, ASOS, Dr Martin’s and more.

This week I took part in Workplace Week and visited the London offices of Deliveroo and Australian bank Macquarie. The two companies, whose businesses are poles apart, have surprisingly similar workspaces.

Deliveroo, the market-leading takeaway delivery company setup in 2013 in London by two Americans on scooters, have expanded to 32 offices in 13 European countries. Headquarters for 1,000 employees is a multi-floor river-side office above London’s Cannon Street Station.

Copyright: Image courtesy of Business Insider

Copyright: Image courtesy of Business Insider

In contrast, Macquarie is an Australian bank that is celebrating its fiftieth year. Their stylish UK and European HQ near London, Moorgate houses 1,700 employees. The multi-floor office features a dramatically lit red staircase that runs through the middle of the office floors, which has meant less lift usage.

Both offices are strikingly similar, they have multiple floors providing all the extras that employees expect these days – free drinks and snacks, gyms, changing rooms, quiet/prayer rooms and a variety of workspaces. However, the most noticeable similarity is the flexible style of working made possible by providing employees with laptops and mobile phones. This means that office planners haven’t had to provide one desk per person – both companies have ratios just under 1.5 persons per desk. The benefits are clear. The most obvious is the cost-saving from the reduced space required, but a less formal environment also encourages freer and more creative ways of working (with more pleasant surroundings), allowing employees to work where, when and how they want.

Copyright: Image courtesy of Clive Wilkinson Architects / The Cool Hunter

Copyright: Image courtesy of Clive Wilkinson Architects / The Cool Hunter

However, there are still the old problems of noise and what people do with their belongings. Both companies have included sound dampening devices, small meeting pods to create quiet works spaces and the pedestal drawers have given way to personal lockers, which need to be closely managed by the office management team.

A bigger question arises from this looser, flexible space and style of working. If employees are encouraged to work in a mobile way with no real physical space that is theirs, does it affect their commitment to the company that they work for? The jury is still out.

Copyright: Image courtesy of Business Insider

Copyright: Image courtesy of Clive Wilkinson Architects / The Cool Hunter

 

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