Mergers, acquisitions, transfer of power and takeovers are happening all around us nearly on a daily basis. The approach many companies take in a time of transition when figuring out how to seamlessly integrate a new vision into an old work environment, can present a challenge.
The Virgin Media Group brought in Household Designs to re-brand over 50 buildings from Head Office to call centres throughout the UK – 150 of which had active employees. Because the average age of the Virgin Call Centre employee was 23, the design team named the new work environment ‘Our Neighbourhood’ in attempt to shift workers’ thinking from ‘them’ to ‘us.’
Primary consideration was directed at the staff’s behaviour in the space. No longer can it be acceptable to just pick a colour or a theme and apply it haphazardly into a space, which is why the Virgin Call Centres are not overly branded with oversized Vs and bright red walls. That’s not to say the spaces are boring – on the contrary, Household strived to integrate humour into the design – and they focused on underused areas of the former office – communal spaces including reception, canteen, break rooms, meeting rooms and spaces in between such as lifts, corridors and stairs. All these spaces were designed with the intention of maximising the staff’s life at work and to encourage workers to feel comfortable interacting with one another through the use of animal silhouette wallpaper, chalkboards, ‘dating car park spaces’ and more.
And across the pond at the Virgin Mobile USA (pictured above) the design team at Gensler brought similar whimsical elements to the work environments. Environmental graphics, bold textures and patterns combine to create a youthful and vibrant work environment characteristic of the Virgin brand. By Andrew J Wiener