In 2019 Planned Office Interiors was contracted by NFU Mutual to renovate and modernise their office facilities in York. As a regular and loyal client of ours, we were delighted to work on another great office fit-out project for them.
NFU Mutual is the UK’s largest rural insurance provider. After a period of growth, the company needed to rethink its York-office facilities. This led them to decide on a redesign and refurbishment to modernise certain office spaces – both inside and out. NFU had an ultimate goal of creating a healthier, happier and more productive workspace.
New reception & draft lobby
Firstly, the brief was to complete a fit-out of a new reception and construction of a new draft lobby. From efficiency to security, we had to consider multiple design requirements – which meant this was an advanced reception and lobby fit-out.
Complete washroom refurb
Secondly, we were instructed to complete a washroom refurbishment across 2 floors. Again, this was more advanced than a simple washroom – with particular attention to employee health and wellbeing.
We were also asked to enhance the exterior office property. From carparks to pedestrian paths, our brief was to create a safe and efficient outside space.
Finally, we were instructed to replace all fire doors across the site – to meet the latest health & safety regulations.
When embarking on a large redesign and refit project there are several challenges that we must identify to ensure we offer the best solution to our clients.
To do this, we always recommend a site survey of the client’s workspaces. By carrying this out, we could understand exactly what we needed to do to improve the office facilities.
For each area, we asked the following questions:
Reception & draft lobby
How could we improve functionality in the reception & lobby area?
With a large number of employees, NFU needed a solution that gave a greater level of autonomy to employees when signing in and out – while maintaining high levels of building security.
As a high-traffic zone, the flow of people through this area is a priority – meaning NFU needed a space where both employees and guests can pass through efficiently. We needed to minimise any bottlenecking.
Furthermore, any guests needed to be dealt with in a secure and professional manner. Therefore, NFU required both a comfortable and secure solution.
For those employed in the reception and lobby zone, they would need an ergonomic workspace – to maximise their health, wellbeing and productivity.
How could we improve the washroom facilities for employees?
Washrooms are also high-traffic areas, which raises the risk of hygiene issues. We needed to consider this for the fit-out – and ensure the highest level of sanitation for employees using the washrooms.
How could we maximise health & wellbeing values through the washrooms?
Recognising the value and importance of a mentally and physically healthy workforce, we needed to source features that would promote a healthy working lifestyle at NFU.
How could we ensure the highest levels of health & safety for pedestrians and drivers using the exterior facilities?
Health & safety risks heighten when pedestrians and drivers have to share a space. We needed to carefully design a space and source features that would minimise any risks for those on-foot and those behind the wheel.
How could we improve efficiency in the carpark?
Much like the reception and lobby area, the flow must be maintained to ensure ‘business as usual’ for all employees – however on a larger scale for drivers. Any feature we implemented would need to bear this in mind at all times.
How could we maximise exterior security?
Employees and guests must feel secure when using the external facilities – so we needed to ensure appropriate measures were put in place.
Following the survey, we presented a number of schemes to NFU for their consideration.
Each proposal was costed to consider layout, fixtures & fittings, furniture, decoration, colours, technology, lighting and other office fit-out features.
We completed the project to solve the internal and external building challenges – and to create functional, safe and secure spaces.
Here’s what we did:
Reception fit-out & lobby creation
Creation & installation of a bespoke reception counter
To encourage a more comfortable working environment for NFU reception employees, we installed an ergonomically-enhanced reception desk. These desks promote good posture, avoid repetitive strain and maximise overall comfort. Overall this would promote good employee health and therefore enhance levels of productivity.
New feature lighting
The benefit of feature lighting is twofold. Firstly, from an interior design perspective, the lighting works as part of a welcoming and professional reception area – important for NFU’s reputation, which can be highly influenced by visitors’ first impressions. Secondly, comfort can be greatly improved by the way you light up your spaces. This specific lighting improved working conditions for NFU reception & lobby staff.
To minimise wear and tear in a high-traffic area, we sourced and installed durable high-performance carpet.
Along with using brand colour schemes, we included potted plants as part of the decorative style. Biophilic design is a way of creating a connection between employees and the natural environment through the use of direct nature, indirect nature, and space and place conditions.
Installed speed gates
Allowing staff to enter and exit the building using a fob has greatly improved the reception area flow – while also improving security for the building.
A draft lobby ensures there is a comfortable place where guests can wait – reducing any congestion.
We installed revolving doors to improve the comfort of employees and guests in the lobby and reception area. This also reduces heat loss, maximising NFU’s energy efficiency.
- Contactless taps
Contactless taps with aerated water maximise efficiency – and reduce the need to touch facilities, therefore improving hygiene levels in a washroom area.
- New radiators
Newly installed, these radiators maximise heat energy efficiency in the washroom areas.
- New sanitary wear
These maximise sanitation and improve hygiene for all employees.
- New feature lighting
Lighting can really enhance a space – even improving employee mood. The washrooms were a good opportunity to capitalise on this – and also maximised the functionality in there.
- New showers & drying area
As part of NFU’s healthy employee drive, we created a shower and drying area so employees can use workplace facilities to refresh after daily exercise.
- Changing rooms & secure lockers
Furthermore, as part of NFU’s support of healthy employees, we created changing facilities and secure lockers – so employees have options to integrate exercise and their working days.
- New feature electrics
We installed hairdryers to complement shower and changing facilities – and sourced efficient hand dryers to reduce washroom flow.
- Installation of new security fences
To maximise security for all employees, we installed safety barriers .
- New pedestrian paths
Using non-slip materials, we designed and created pedestrian paths to keep all employees on-foot safe when walking around the outside perimeters of the building.
- New pedestrian lighting
We outlined all pedestrian paths with lighting – again, to enhance health & safety around the exterior parts of the office.
- New car parking spaces created
To meet growing employee demands, we created more car parking spaces.
- Relaid car park line markings
To ensure efficient parking, we redrew all carpark linings – making it easier for employees to park.
After the refurb and refit, we are thrilled to have improved key areas of NFU Mutual’s internal and external office building in York. From a focus on healthy working lifestyles in washrooms to an autonomous & secure employee check-in system, the modernised office facilities promote a positive and productive working culture.