Property development manager Vicki Hayward knew that she could rely on Kinnarps to help her develop a working environment that would deliver the ‘wow factor’ she needed. ‘I had worked with Kinnarps for long enough to know that it combined the creativity, service ethic and safe hands in which to place such an important project’, she explains.
‘I also know that Kinnarps’s project management service is comprehensive and that Duncan Biggs, our Kinnarps account manager, can help to take off an awful lot of the pressure. Duncan effectively works within our team, based on site for part of the week, rather than as an external supplier, and I can rely on him to provide consistent and efficient support throughout the project process. I know I can rely on Kinnarps as a single port of call, providing me not only with a comprehensive range of products, but with work flow planning, space management, specification, compliance, ergonomic design, delivery and installation. It saves us a lot of time and spares us from the inefficiencies of working with a horde of suppliers.’
Initially Duncan scoped out the project, produced 3D space planning drawings and made some initial product recommendations, then he arranged for Vicki and the rest of the team to visit a number of Kinnarps’s other clients to get inspiration and to see some of their solutions working in practice. ‘It was clear that Kinnarps is very experienced in helping clients to achieve both durable and stylish workspaces without blowing the budget’ commented Vicki.
‘Creating the office from scratch was a complex brief, with a number of specific challenges, so it was very important to us to work with a furnishing expert who took the time to understand our company culture and brand equity and had the tools to help us translate it into an inspiring workplace. We needed to find creative ways to honour our commitment to being a place ‘where people love to work’ and to infuse the environment with our brand.’
‘We like to think that ‘caring’, ‘honest’, ‘value’, ‘fun’ and ‘innovative’ sum up how people see us and also define the characteristics that we look for in the people we recruit. We needed our new contact centre to communicate these values to visitors and potential employees from the moment they walked through the door.’
Virgin Atlantic and Kinnarps achieved this through careful space planning and design, to accommodate 230 flexible workstations along with meeting, training and break out areas. They chose white furniture to help create a sense of space and resonate with Virgin Atlantic’s iconic red and white branding and incorporated relaxation areas where staff can take a break from their desks to surf the internet or even work out on the Wii. Thoughtful planning of storage has also helped to give the place a clean, uncluttered feel, reinforcing the relaxed, fun but efficient, style of the business.
Vicki continues: ‘Kinnarps understood that we wanted to put our own stamp on the place as well as using new Kinnarps supplied furnishings, so were happy to help us design a layout that incorporated some of the Virgin Atlantic branded elements that passengers see in our Clubhouses and even some aircraft seating to help illustrate the history of the company.’
‘Kinnarps also understood the additional pressures we faced to get a whole new call centre team recruited and trained in time for the opening’ says Vicki. ‘As well as being constrained by budgets, we wanted our new team members to start interacting with and understanding the brand straight away, so that meant interviews and training sessions had to be held on site. As the main call centre installation was progressing, Duncan helped us to set up ad hoc satellite rooms as and when we needed them. It was a feat of planning and resourcefulness, but we managed it between us!’ Says Vicki.