Creating an inspiring workplace for Sky

BLOG: A Managed Office Solutions approach delivers a new stimulating working environment for Sky’s Tannochside contact centre. Sky (www.sky.com) is Europe’s leading entertainment company that serves 20 million customers across five countries and has a number of facilities located around the UK that play a key role in supporting this highly successful business; none more so than its contact centre operation at Tannochside which focuses on customer retention.

The broadcaster’s Tannochside facility focuses on customer retention activity and utilises some of Sky’s most highly trained and professional customer service operatives.

In 2006, the facility was originally sourced and delivered by managed office solutions provider Portal (www.portalgroupuk.com) and included the property, fit out, facilities management (cleaning, catering, security and maintenance) and an onsite manager. Additionally IT and call centre technology is supplied and fully supported by a resident team. This tailored solution, underpinned by stringent service level agreements is provided in the form of a monthly operating charge, mitigating Sky’s capex requirements and enabling effective budgetary forecasting.

Comprehensive refurbishment

In 2012 Sky and Portal entered into a consultation process focused upon providing a comprehensive refurbishment of the Tannochside facility. Both Sky and Portal recognised that one of the key aspects of the workplace is to support the employees it accommodates. This is not simply in terms of functional design to facilitate efficient work processes, but to create an environment that reflects the vibrant Sky brand, encourages collaboration and employee wellbeing.

With these key drivers in mind, Portal undertook a refurbishment process that included a detailed assessment of all of the stakeholder needs from contact centre operatives right through to senior management. The process was managed to ensure that there was minimum disruption. The result was a revitalised workplace and IT solution that encompassed changes throughout the entirety of the 32,500 sq. ft. site.

An environment that facilitates team work & collaboration

The contact centre represents the heart of the operation at the Tannochside site and it is immediately apparent that the refurbishment has achieved the objective of providing employees with a comfortable, spacious working environment. The workspaces are now open plan, with ergonomically designed furniture and the entire centre also benefits from excellent natural light.

Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects to address has been providing an environment that facilitates team work and collaboration, but also takes into account the requirement for operatives to have clear and uninterrupted channels of communication. This has been achieved through a diligent fit out process, of which the notable features include:

• Operatives have been provided with new style desks that allow for an efficient use of space and enable colleagues to work effectively in a team environment
• On the contact centre floor there are areas provided for staff to have discussions away from their desks, without having to book meeting rooms etc. These ‘conversation pods’ are situated in convenient locations
• The listening post provides a booth area designed to allow colleagues to playback and review calls.
• New heat resistant film shield on all windows stops sun glare
• The introduction of natural light from the central atrium in the building has a greater impact on the contact centre due to increased glass panelling between the central communal area and the centre.
• LED lighting was utilised throughout providing improved aesthetics and significant energy savings

Reflecting brand values

The refurbishment has also provided the perfect opportunity to ensure consistency in the brand messaging across Sky’s portfolio of sites. The instantly recognisable images of themes from Sky’s hit programme of events, films and other broadcasts help communicate the achievements of the company. The stunning images utilised throughout the building contribute towards providing an aesthetically stimulating environment for personnel.

“a complete reinvention of the site”

The refurbishment of Sky’s facility at Tannochside has, in the words of Sky’s Sales Support Manager “been more of a complete reinvention of the site, rather than just a refresh.” Managed by Portal in complete consultation with Sky, the facility has been transformed to meet Sky’s operational requirements, deliver consistency of branding and messaging across all its sites and at the same time provide a stimulating working environment for its colleagues.

According to Sky’s Sales Support Manager, the project has been a resounding success. It has delivered a new working environment that has been designed with input from all of Sky’s colleagues, which in turn has made them feel valued and more loyal to the organisation. The new workplace encourages them to collaborate with fellow colleagues more often, and also makes them feel proud of their working environment. The result is a happier workplace, a motivated workforce, improved productivity and an even higher focus on providing an excellent level of service to Sky customers.

Changes based on direct feedback and requests from Sky colleagues:

• A central area under an atrium was created as a break out area with pool tables, seating and table tennis. It is also used as an area for team meetings and other group events such as the presentation of awards
• The subsidised restaurant was moved and now offers a spacious, light, open plan environment that caters for 100 people, with booths so that teams can sit together
• Space that allowed Sky to fit-out a highly specified gym that provides a modern recreational environment for a minimal monthly charge
• A new training area that includes a “lounge environment” which showcases Sky’s different range of products so staff can easily relate to the brand’s diverse portfolio of entertainment packages
• Improved facilities toilets, showers and locker facilities
• New proximity swipe access system
• Refurbishment of toilet areas with modern wall cladding, hand dryers and LED lighting