Grant Thornton debuts next generation hybrid office

One of the UK’s leading business advisory firms is leading the way in the workplace evolution as it reveals a new futuristic office in Oxford for its Thames Valley team.

According to a recent survey by CIPHR, 72% of people would like to split their time between the workplace and working from home; Grant Thornton UK LLP’s new Thames Valley base caters exactly for that change.

The 4,276 sq ft office based in Seacourt Tower was designed by Peldon Rose, which specialises in creating dynamic and collaborative workplaces. The project has had a collaborative approach from the outset, with Grant Thornton incorporating the opinions of its entire team, from trainees to partners, and then working with Peldon Rose to bring their vision to life.

The layout is based around the principle of three work modes: social, collaborative and focus. In practical terms it means meeting rooms configured in such a way that anyone joining virtually is highly visible and audible to in-person participants. There are also quieter soundproofed areas, along with creative and collaborative spaces, with benches for team projects.

Jim Rogers, Practice Leader for Thames Valley and Southampton, said: “We are excited to welcome our employees back to the office on a flexible basis after listening to their wishes. Our new base is very different to the office from five years ago; with our people in mind, we are thrilled with our new collaborative work space.

“We already have a similar office set up with our award winning collaborative working space on the University of Southampton Science Park and our teams, clients and local business networks have benefited enormously from the flexible and inspiring working environment.

“We believe the office space is where our culture comes alive and culture is the beating heart of Grant Thornton. The office is designed to help employees with mentorship and will promote the cross-fertilisation of service sectors and shared thinking, which we have all missed whilst working from home.

“We take a stance that if people are sitting down at desks all day and not engaging with others, they might as well be at home with their families, so this creative space will encourage them into the office where they can start to have those creative and valuable conversations again.

“It’s no longer about providing people with a desk and telling them where they’ll work, it’s asking them where they want to work and how. We listened to opinions from all corners of Grant Thornton, from trainees to partners, and then voted on the best design Peldon Rose offered us, which highlights our inclusive culture.”

Georgia Nogas, senior project designer at Peldon Rose, said: “We are delighted to see this project come to life. During the design process, we wanted to ensure we created offices that brought all generations of the workforce together, attracting experienced people back into the office and also helping new entrants into the company understand the business’ ethos.

“The offices cater to a variety of different working styles allowing teams to socialise, and collaborate, while also offering areas for focus and concentration. The reception area, the beating heart of the space, has a coffee shop feel which will promote conversations whilst the central spine leads borders a workspace with a mix of traditional and project benches which cater for full-team collaborations and focus areas. We worked closely with the team to embody Grant Thornton’s values of diversity, excellence and agility and we couldn’t be more pleased with the final design.

The firm is encouraging its employees to come in on a flexible basis and has provided all of its workforce with equipment to work from home which is theirs’ to keep.

Oxford holds a special place in Grant Thornton’s history as its roots were firmly lay in the city in 1904 when Thornton and Thornton was established. The firm continues to support businesses in the Oxfordshire region today.

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