Reimagining London: taking a circular approach to changing the way we work

Setting the scene

Our vision is to create modern and future-fit offices with more choice and collaborative shared working space, both on practice floors and in areas where we can work alongside clients.

Reimagining London - the remodelling of our Embankment Place and More London offices - is London’s turn to change.  

A key part of remodelling our offices is to provide a wider choice of work spaces to fit the different activities across the firm and the conversations we have each day. The changes made build a better environment for our teams to work together, while providing collaborative spaces for client meetings.

When remodelling our offices the circular economy is at the forefront of our business practices. In the UK, almost half of all waste arises from demolition and construction, so adopting circular practices in relation to offices is one way to minimise the environmental impact of our business.

The circular economy offers a different model to our ‘take-make-dispose’ economy, and encourages responsible consumption and production, with simple principles of keeping materials in use for as long as possible, at their highest economic value. In practice, this means not only recycling waste materials, but also being smart in the way we use goods, remanufacturing and reusing items whenever possible.

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“I feel amazing - it's great and makes my team work closer.”

What we did

With the business growing rapidly, we needed to accommodate more people in the same amount of space – ensuring we can deliver on our commitment to reduce our absolute carbon footprint in line with the Paris Agreement and a 2 degree world, as well as minimising operational costs.

But more than that, we were also seeking to create a workplace that encourages the emerging ways of working and the latest thinking about wellbeing. We created a working environment that offers much more choice; we’ve provided different types of workspaces, areas for team collaboration, presentation booths and informal seating for impromptu discussions. We’ve introduced pods for individual quiet working, touchdown spots and high benches for quick tasks or working while standing.

With sensors at each desk removing the need to ‘book in’ to a given space, we can now enable our people to choose whatever is right for them at a given time, on a given day, on any floor, in any building.

To create a better working environment we reduced storage, halving the individual storage space. With our digital strategy well underway and GDPR in place, people no longer store paper files or documents, allowing better use of space. But instead of throwing away the old, larger storage cabinets and purchasing new locker banks, we decided to keep the outer metal carcasses, giving them a facelift with veneer and attractive graphics on the fronts, and refitting them with smaller metal lockers.

We’ve refreshed booths and soft seating with new cushioning and upholstery, where needed instead of buying new pieces. We’ve given most of our furniture a spruce-up and new look with minimal waste and we’ve rejigged carpet tiles to add in splashes of colour and allow for new electrics, reusing as many as possible.

Making a difference

Reimagining London has transformed our offices to workspaces that will support and enable our commercial strategy for the coming years. It’s also helped us use our space more efficiently, reducing the square metre per person to 6.1m, driving efficiencies for our business and in our greenhouse gas emissions. 

Remanufacturing our furniture greatly reduced the demand on virgin metal, plastics, and new wood, whilst still providing us with attractive, comfortable, state-of-the-art functional office equipment.

Moreover, our people have welcomed the new spaces, which have a new, more relaxed and contemporary feel and provide significantly more flexibility in how and where they work, enhancing productivity and engagement. 

We have also invested significantly in our regional offices, including our new offices in Manchester and Birmingham, and refurbishments in Leeds and Aberdeen, as part of our strategy to strengthen our regional offices to make the most of opportunities we see in the UK’s fast-growing regions.

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Corporate Affairs, PwC United Kingdom

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