Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, has moved into a new 10,000sqm office in Woodcote Grove, Epsom, on the same site where the company was first based in the 1960s.
The office, which was conceptually designed by Atkins’ architects, offers a modern, efficient and flexible workspace for 1,300 multi-disciplinary staff. Featuring on open layouts, interlinked with meeting and relaxation areas as well as a series of quiet pods, the building’s modern and vibrant design promotes collaboration, while the various communal areas, cafeteria and forum area offer employees a range of informal places to connect and relax.
Atkins has a fantastic heritage of technical excellent here in Epsom, as the site Sir William Atkins established the company more than 50 years ago. At the opening we were joined by relatives of Sir William Atkins himself , who all work or worked for the company, Grandsons Peter and Chris Micklethwaite Great grandson Will Micklethwaite.
Among the invited guest were members of the Golden Circle. These are former directors of Atkins some back as far as the early days in Epsom. Also invited along local school children fromAtkins STEM, science, technology, engineering and mathematics, group. Atkins offers STEM education via local schools in the hope they become future engineers shaping our world in the future with their innovations.
Keeping with the family connection Norman Schunter, one of our Golden Circle members, was joined by his son and grandchildren Past, Present and Future engineers.
Now for the building. As soon as you walk through the front door you know you are visiting somewhere special. You are greeted by vast open area with natural light streaming in from all angle. Despite 1,000 desks and employees busy working away the building is very quiet. This is due to the soundproof cladding and a silent hum which nulls the sound even more. The building has no offices. Staff work in an open environment with areas for meetings, phone calls or just space to have a break.
Each floor has a kitchen area with fresh fruit, desks that you can raise so it you want to stand up and work you can, special lighting changes colour to help with the mood of the building, signanged has been designed to help those with vision impairment. There are side rooms for conference calls and meetings and again the technology used is state of the arts even down to the fact majority of the walls in these rooms are wipe boards. There is still the traditional library with books covering a wide range of structural equations.
On the ground floor is a coffee shop and a wonderful restaurant with a varied menu for all tastes. There are also 2 comfort rooms where if you are feeling unwell or you just need a break you can.
As well as being a modern fully operational office it is clear the wellbeing of the staff has been a major factor in the design. For the Golden Circle members this was a million miles away from the environment that use to work in. Even down to the modeling. In the past if they had designed a structure to get a better understand on how it looks and to show the client the plans would go to a modeling room where over a period of time a model would be made. Now the 3D printer can doing it in a day. As we looked on a model was being made of a section of a theme park in the Middle East which Atkins are working on.
After the tour we joined the STEM group who where making parachutes and would drop these from the top floor carrying eggs.
For the open ceremony staff in the building joined in standing around the centre area looking down from the floors There were italks by Graham Hunt, Building Manager and Engineering Practice Director, Atkins, Richard Robinson, UK&E CEO, Atkins, Norman Schunter, ex-employee, most noticeably COO for Atkins in the early 2000s and Mark Anderson, Finance Director, Atkins.
Afterwards a small group including Sir William Atkins family, The 3 generations of the Schunter family and Richard Robinson, UK&E CEO, Atkins to the front of the building to cut the red ribbon.
Woodcote Grove has played a huge role in the success and growth of the company, starting with a small team working within mansion house before expanding into their old office next door and now expanding again into this new office. The investment in the new office future proofs their presence in Epsom for a long time.
A big Thank You to Atkins for inviting us along to the opening of their new offices.