Instinctif Partners is a leading communications agency in the City of London with a larger global footprint of 330 staff in cities around the world. Since 2014 they have leased their London property on the first floor of 65 Gresham St; a space of approximately 20,000 square feet.
The existing space was developed as an high-density “action office” with a design and floor plan that mimicked a pre-digital newsroom. The newsroom layout, however, was not becoming an agency which leads the way in the delivery of communications services through innovative digital and technological products.
Instinctif set us a challenging brief - an office refurbishment sensitive to environmental concerns of recycling existing furniture while simultaneously conscious of the post-COVID economic climate. The brief asked us to use as much of the old furniture as possible, with a goal of repurposing at least 50% of existing furniture.
We exceeded their expectations by providing an exciting, dynamic and collaborative space that reused over 70% of the furniture. This allowed for a highly economical refurbishment while still achieving an inspiring, collaborative office space.
There are several factors that lead to an office space requiring refurbishment. In instinctif’s case the passing of time and the impact of the Covid created newfound challenges for the company. Instinctif did well to embrace these challenges through home working. However, as government rules relaxed, they wanted a way to encourage staff to return to the office.
While Instinctif valued the flexibility that working remotely allowed them, they viewed face-to-face interaction as integral in their business to facilitate collaboration, build relationships, solve complex challenges and most importantly, to generate ideas. In short, they believed in the workplace being a social environment which kept their cultural, organisational and operational values intact while maintaining productivity.
Imbuing the office space with Instinctif’s unique values was a key part of this project. Instinctif identified three core themes that were important to them:
A central concern was creating a series of workspaces that are the centre of attraction. They also wanted to break up a perceived “silo” culture where individual project teams seldom talked to each other. To do so, they needed more meeting and collaboration space - a more flexible environment with fewer desks.
Additionally, they were looking for a refreshed environment reflecting a hybrid working model where somebody can get in front of their laptop with the ease of connectivity (accessing WIFI and charging stations) or assemble around long tables and converse. Equally, privacy issues were a concern when confidential internal meetings are concerned. The rooms needed to accommodate private and personal internal conversations or client phone calls without sound leakage.
The project also needed to be light touch as their lease had a relatively short time to run. Finally, in line with sensitivities of the pandemic they also wanted to repurpose existing furniture as far as possible.
Working closely with Instinctif’s project team we halved the number of permanent workstations freeing up space for meeting and collaboration areas. Where appropriate existing furniture was repurposed.
The furniture also needed to inspire collaboration. They wanted more sofa space for casual conversation and the sharing of ideas. In response we created a central “town hall” meeting area, tripling the size of the existing facility. We also decluttered the space, moved meeting rooms and tidied storage. To enable a more agile, hybrid environment we introduced a smart use of storage lockers for all staff, and a desk booking system that allowed staff to plan ahead.
Instinctif wanted long tables where staff and visitors could congregate and collaborate, fostering a more collaborative and creative culture. The desking layout was broken up with new meeting zones designed for ad hoc collaboration and allowing different types of meeting from informal quick chats, to stand ups brainstorms, and meetings over coffee.
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