Bringing the soul back to the home of MoneySuperMarket
Ewloe, North Wales
28,000 sq ft
- Services Involved
Sesign and Build
MoneySuperMarket’s office in Ewloe, Wales, was one of the first properties in their portfolio and has been long-considered their home. Together, we have helped reframe and redefine its purpose and created a new home office layout, bringing collaboration and pride back to Elowe once more.
Their home in Ewloe was getting overlooked
MoneySuperMarket (MSM) was born in Chester, starting out with several small offices before opening their ‘home’ office in Ewloe, with 600 employees. As MSM grew, teams began to migrate to new specialist branches in Manchester (the new tech hub) and London (focusing on marketing and finance), stripping the Ewloe office of over half its workforce.
The property also hadn’t been renovated for almost eighteen years, and employees felt that the ‘traditional office home of MSM’ had been neglected, with the layout largely unchanged. They feared that the office had lost its identity and their home would eventually close altogether.
Ewloe’s Site Director, Dee Dillistone, called for a decision to be made. If the office was to remain open, it needed investment to re-establish its purpose and identity.
“After the success of our Manchester office, we knew we wanted to work with TSK again. Though it was important to foster the same sense of collaboration here in Ewloe, we also hoped to create a more homely feel.
“We wanted to remind people that this is where the success began and ignite a sense of pride.”
"The office feels like home again and the open-plan layout is designed to continuously evolve and adapt, lending itself perfectly to the current pandemic."Dee Dillistone, Customer Operations and Ewloe Site Director at MoneySuperMarket
A collaborative discovery to create a design and layout that worked for their home
We worked in partnership with the MSM Ewloe Leadership Forum to create themes that needed to be explored and developed. Through our focus groups, we uncovered a common desire – to regain a sense of pride in the office, improve the layout and to make it feel like the home of MSM again.
Ewloe houses members from all MSM functions (marketing, finance, a contact centre, and TravelSuperMarket). As the only part of the organisation with a contact centre, MSM believed it should be a creative hub/collaborative space where MSM employees can come together to gain a better understanding of their customers. However, the different teams were acting as separate entities within the building, rarely coming together to collaborate.
The layout of their ‘office home’ in Ewloe also prevented colleagues from engaging with each other. The central café acoustics meant that the space was echoey and uninviting, meaning employees would grab their lunch and pass through. The L shaped building felt like a cul-de-sac – with the wings separating teams, discouraging them from engaging or coming together to collaborate.
Colleagues from other branches weren’t visiting MSM’s office home either. Each team had everything they needed to be self-sufficient, leaving no reason to engage with the rest of the organisation.
It had to change.
Reconnecting the team
To reconnect the team in Ewloe, we needed to break down silos, encourage movement across the entire building and foster a sense of collaboration between all teams, whether they worked together directly or not. We also needed to make sure departmental colleagues, based in other offices, felt welcomed and encouraged to visit. The new office layout needed to reflect this and create that sense of home again.
We used the centre of each wing to bring people together and placed desks next to the windows, making the most of natural lighting. Each team could decide how they used the spine within their division to optimise their performance. The TravelSuperMarket team introduced large whiteboards with wheels to facilitate collaboration, and the call centre team introduced booths to allow for their all-important 1-2-1s.
Creating it’s home identity back through beautiful design and a clever office layout
The building needed to echo a consistent MSM feel, whilst also celebrating the unique character of the building and its people. Whereas the Manchester site had an industrial feel, in Ewloe we used warmer colours, creating the homely atmosphere MSM desired.
“One thing that was extremely important to the people of Ewloe was to create a sense of pride. To give the office its own distinctive character, the meeting rooms were designed after famous Welsh individuals such as Dawn French, Shirley Bassey and we even created a Colin Jackson locker room.”
Grant Dean, Lead Designer at TSK
The results – A new home
The project was delivered in two seven-week phases in spring 2020 (due to the March lockdown restrictions). As the pandemic allowed us to work on an empty site, we were able to work efficiently, and without disruption, delivering the project on time.
The refurbished central café and meeting spaces now draw people into the heart of the building and encourages engagement between the departments. The activity based working layout of the office means it is now easily adaptable and facilitates collaborative working. But most importantly, MSM have their home back.
They really took the time to understand our people
“We went into this project with a certain level of fear, but there was a strong sense of willingness from TSK to work collaboratively. They didn’t push us to spend as much as possible and instead, really took the time to understand our people and what they needed, working within our budget. They kept the structural changes to a minimum, focusing on clever design changes to encourage collaboration and movement. Each department can work productively in their own functions but also collaboratively as a wider team.
Our people have been making a phased post-COVID return since September, and the reaction so far has been amazing. The office feels like home again and the open-plan layout is designed to continuously evolve and adapt, lending itself perfectly to the current pandemic. Our work with TSK will most definitely continue – we’re already discussing how we can create more solutions for our employees!”
Dee Dillistone, Customer Operations and Ewloe Site Director at MoneySuperMarket