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The challenge

The leases on Walker Morris’s buildings were due to end and Strive were appointed to explore options of staying and redeveloping their existing facilities, or relocating to a new building.

Walker Morris desired an environment that supports its values of distinctiveness and innovation. We saw that its traditional culture and working practices could conflict with this goal without significant change.

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what we did

Walker Morris had previously deferred the lease break for five years and, due to resistance to change, it was possible this might happen again. The existing buildings give 85,000 sq ft of inefficient space and most of the mechanical services were reaching their end of life. We felt a move would support the sustainability of Walker Morris’s business model, and help it attract new talent and clients.

We began by gathering a significant amount of data and then ran a staff engagement programme. We focused on getting buy-in for change at all levels, as well as understanding the level of change needed and the skills available internally to achieve it. We also assessed the Leeds marketplace to find potential new locations.

As a result of this comprehensive strategic engagement Walker Morris voted on relocating to 33 Wellington Street. This 72,000 sq ft building provides the firm its own front door and a brand presence.

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the result

Working with the developer on the CAT A design, we have produced a CAT B & C design and specification that is tailored to Walker Morris from the outset. The scheme comprises of a high quality reception, much needed centralised cafe and social space to the Ground Floor, and a business lounge and client meeting room suite to the first floor. Three upper floors are designated as open plan agile working environments.

By embracing agile working practices and cultural change Walker Morris were able to condense into 60,000 sq ft of the available 72,00 sq ft which has allowed them to create two wings of sublet space and reduce on operational costs.

We’re also continuing to work with Walker Morris from a cultural perspective as the new agile office environment will demand a wholesale shift in their current working cultures.