‘Office for the future’ – Wates Newbury

We had a thrilling beginning of the month here, at HNW, with the inauguration of a new office for Wates Group in #Newbury. With cultural change, investment in people and wellness in mind, the office for the future – as we called it – developed throughout the pandemic, embracing new ways of working. Our brief led to the creation of a forward-thinking office for Wates Group that will continue to evolve with the new needs and expectations of its people, customers and visitors, adapting to a hybrid work mode which blends the physical and digital. We were asked to create an inspiring, modern, safe and smart environment that promotes a sense of calm and a sense of belonging.

The pandemic has fundamentally fast-forwarded the change in our relationship with workplace environments and presented an opportunity to pause and reflect on work styles, acknowledging factors which shape our behaviours, productivity and wellbeing. These factors include: environmental, emotional, sociological, physiological and psychological. We sought to influence and play with the environmental stimuli to create the right conditions to collaborate, to be productive and to innovate. The psychological and sociological aspects became more apparent during #WFH. ‘Analytical‘ individuals prefer hard seats and no distractions, ‘global’ individuals prefer soft seating and low lighting and all in between can be flexible requiring a mix of both. With a return to the office, research shows people expect personal spaces – which enable privacy and comfort, collaboration spaces – which offer flexibility, social spaces – to foster experience sharing and adaptable learning spaces with the right tech.

Colour has played an important part in this scheme. Whilst trends are short-lived, by using #colourpsychology we have sought to influence positive behaviour, wellness and longevity. Our predominant colour, green, is synonymous with balance. The use of leafy greens creates a relaxing environment and the earthy tones along with walnut wood accents create a sense of reassurance, grounding and charm. Uplifting tones of aqua and darker shades of teal seek to increase concentration and help communication. We integrated elements of #biophilic design intertwined with corporate branding to foster a sense of identity and community, encouraging teamwork in a distinctive environment and accommodating hybrid working.

Finishes have been carefully chosen, with sustainability in mind. Where possible, products have been selected based on their durability, ease of maintenance, recycled content and recyclability. The meeting room seating at Wates Newbury has an average of over 30% recycled content and is 80% recyclable. The fabric is also woven from 100% recycled polyester, including closed loop content derived from textile remnants. All floor finishes are carbon neutral throughout their entire lifecycle – carpet tiles have 90% recycled content, carbon negative backing and the majority have 100% recycled yarn. Luxury vinyl tiles have 39% recycled content. Based on the floor design and specification, HNW have avoided approximately 7 metric tonnes in carbon emissions which would equate to either: 2 cars being driven for a year, 1 annual household electricity use, 1 million smartphones charged, or carbon sequestered by 9 acres of forest.

October 2021