£1.5m investment from Haines Watts to embrace workplace change

National accountancy and business advisory firm Haines Watts has invested more than £1.5m in a number of its UK offices in a business drive to modernise and revamp its existing space as flexible working styles become the new norm.

With Millennials and Gen Zs making up nearly two thirds of the Haines Watts workforce, the business has been leading the way with its working culture to create an environment fit for the future.

Office refurbishments have so far taken place in Birmingham, Newcastle, Wolverhampton, Diss, Colchester, Cardiff and London. As part of the firm’s overarching strategic plan, it amalgamated two offices in Birmingham into one central location in Greenfield Crescent in the Midlands earlier this year to bring opportunity to grow. The new office now provides additional space for employees and clients to meet and host business events and social gatherings.

Michael Davidson, managing partner at Haines Watts, said: “We know agile and flexible working is attractive to the ‘future of work’, so our new offices in Birmingham have no fixed allocated seating and our most recent London acquisitions have been brought into our Holborn office, taking a similar approach. We are even looking at co-working spaces for clients in our future plans and are very keen to lead the way in being a modern business unafraid to adopt change.”

Jonathan Scott, partner at the Haines Watts Newcastle office, has been instrumental in the Newcastle office move, which was completed in October. After merging with another practice in the North East, the firm had soon outgrown its existing office space. He said: “We wanted something a bit quirky that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with an accountancy business – an office completely focused on an integrated work-life balance.

“Once we’d chosen the location, we sought advice from people across all departments about what kind of changes they might like to see. We also worked with an interior designer to help develop a space which promotes employee wellbeing.

“We’ve knocked down barriers so we can communicate with each other more effectively, so our partners don’t have offices. This enables us to be more collaborative and our ‘open door policy’ is something we stand by. There are breakout work and social spaces with a pool table, TVs, wine cooler, and fresh fruit. It’s now somewhere we are confident our employees and our clients will want to be as well.”

Stephen Lucey, partner at the Haines Watts Cardiff office, said: “Having previously combined three offices and with a continually growing team, we have demolished walls - literally and figuratively - to create a brighter, more spacious working environment. To help with our agile working policies we’ve eliminated desk telephones, meaning that nobody feels fixed to any one physical position.”

The Cardiff office now has a peaceful “zen” garden outside of the front door where members of the team can enjoy some fresh air, take time to focus or have outdoor lunch breaks.

The Haines Watts teams from Farringdon and Shoreditch have merged with the Holburn hub in the new London base at New Derwent House. The new space, which is now home to over 150 Haines Watts employees, is designed for ‘Activity Based Working’ with designated spaces for learning, focusing, collaborating and socialising.

Matt Perry, managing partner at the Holborn office, said: “Change always comes with challenges and we’ve found that communication, consultation and a willingness to take feedback have been key factors in managing this process. Embracing change and creating a more modern work culture is the future of the Haines Watts workforce.”

Adam Beach
Article by Adam Beach
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