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Optimal Occupancy

Health care insurer Scottish Health Insurance (SHI) initially thought to be able to accommodate 160 staff in the new head office in Stirling. But by choosing a new way of working, there was space for up to 240 people. The office is now several months in use, and it turns out there can be added even another twenty to thirty employees, what can be very attractive from an operational point of view. The interior design, office fit out and furniture was delivered by Amos Beech. 

Interior Design

(the colour theme in the interior is tailored to the user)

Thanks to last autum’s move, SHI is now renting only one property instead of seven. The employees now work from one Office, which improves the efficiency and saves a amount of travel time. The new working environment is in a totally redesigned office building in Stirling and the company used it as an opportunity for renewing and strengthening the organization. Under the name ‘ Move ‘ SHI has chosen to work with the minimum of bureaucracy and bases it’s work processes on customer perception and on an operating model that combines the independence of employees and teams as a starting point. This innovation goes hand in hand with a gradual flexibilization of the workforce. This also meant that the office had to offer way more flexibility, so that the organization can continue to capitalise on the changes. Thanks to the work of the interior design team and workplace consultants of Amos Beech.
SHI wanted an alternative to the traditional cellular office, where employees tend to hide in the room. “Meet each other is an important core value for us”, says John McEwan, real estate manager at the Stirlingshire health insurer. “For that reason, our new working environment had to be a natural environment, in which people look up and are able to meet each other.”

Whith that as a starting point, a transparent open office would be ideal, but in the realisation some limitations of the property were encountered. A lot of spaces, were enclosed by supporting beams. Interior Designer Deborah McAuley from workplace consultants Amos Beech came up with a solution that met the requirements. “The challenge was to utilise the open spaces as good as possible and at the same time, to facilitate the activities of the various groups of employees in an optimum way.” says Roy James, project manager on behalf of Amos Beech. “Therefore we have chosen a twofold office area and large open meeting spaces. Because of the many bearing walls the Office area has number of confined areas. This is where the workplaces are for the people who are more desk based and need to concentrate.” The cellular character is large enough for six to eight workplaces. In the cores of these are places for concentration and consultation.

Office fit out

The open spaces are the domain of policy makers, managers, quality people, controllers, etcetera. All jobs with a variaty of activities, from consultations and meetings to concentrated work. On the meeting squares for example, there are workbenches where six to eight people can work a half-day or full day. Furthermore, there are lounge areas and consultation rooms, some decorated as living rooms with sofas. At the reception area there is a bar area where one can drink coffee, instead of the usual reception desk. But there is also an attractive cafeteria, which is used throughout the day, as well as a space to play a game. In the new head office cabinets can still be found. But this will disappear whith the digitization of the organisation. Once the cabinets are removed, the employees will even have more space and air. It is not intended to create more workplaces in the then newly released spaces. There is also no need for extra workstations because the new work environment can cater for more employees than initial calculation. During the whole operation, much attention has been given to support the staff. There was a lot of resistance in the beginning. “In hinesight we shouldn’t have used the words ‘ the new way of working’ but instead have talked about ‘a different way of working'”, says Meijer. “A number of people googled ‘New way of working’ and ended up with stories about organisation that didn’t fit our profile at all. 

Office furniture

The office hasn’t been finished over luxurious, but good materials were used as well as, good chairs and good desks and tables. All the office furniture is supplied by Amos Beech from Falkirk. Functionality and ergonomics had the highest priority. In addition, the designers draw their inspiration from the countryside that surrounds Stirling. Aspects such as the rustic landscape, the mountains and the Forth valley can be found in the use of colours in the rooms and the furniture. This is combined with quiet colours and wooden materials with a natural look, so that a fine, calm and welcoming environment was created.