Sector: Engineering | Size: 44,000 sq ft | Location: Yeovil
When helicopter maker AgustaWestland landed major contracts with the Ministry of Defence, the need for a base to bring the two organisations’ staff together became of urgent importance.
Interaction was asked to create workspace at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil site in a £4m scheme that would quickly knit together two very different work cultures.
AgustaWestland was clear about the result it needed to see from the rehabilitation of a 44,000 sq ft, derelict, 1950's office block. It needed its team of rotorcraft engineers and MoD’s engineers to work together and make critical decisions extremely quickly.
Over 550 people, with around half employed by AgustaWestland and other half by the MOD, would be housed in the facility, and the teams would need to collaborate seamlessly.
Interaction thoroughly researched the work cultures of both AgustaWestland and the MoD to understand any potential barriers to collaboration.
By developing a picture of the cultural practices of the two organisations and staff’s usual workplace behaviours, Interaction was able to gauge how much the workspace would need to ‘actively’ forge connections across the teams involved in this public private project.
Firstly, Interaction needed to deal with the structure of the dilapidated building. The long-empty office block had concrete cancer, damaged steel structures and contained asbestos.
Stripping the two-story office back to its steel frame, Interaction stabilised the building’s superstructure and rebuilt and clad its shell. New windows were installed alongside full mechanical and electrical services.
Next, Interaction formed an interior space that was flexible enough to facilitate staff’s fast changing work needs. Staff might need to band together within seconds to make urgent decisions and resolve highly complex problems.
This called for a wide variety of formal meeting areas and break out spaces. The interior was also laid out so as to weave together staff from AgustaWestland and the MoD and create the sense of a cohesive team with a common aim.
Importantly, a large space was set aside for the ‘Work Café’, which was fitted out to be a relaxing area that would draw people from across the office and provide an effortless way for staff to mix, further strengthening relationships.
A fast-track project, both the construction and fit-out work were completed in just six months. Built to a high energy efficiency standard, the project was awarded a BREEAM rating of Very Good.
The Work Café is always full and staff are working collectively towards their shared goals.
AgustaWestland plans to use the format as a blueprint in the development of its other properties.