Plantronics’ HQ is designed to wow current – and future – workers
Plantronics’ new UK headquarters is a testimony to the US company’s position as one of the world’s leading suppliers of hands-free headsets for phones. Its design has been deemed so successful that it is being replicated at the firm’s other European offices, and even in China and the US.
An old, outdated building in Wootton Bassett, near Swindon, has been redesigned and refitted to promote the idea of flexible working and shows the headset technology at work, day in, day out.
While keen to create a more comfortable and productive environment for its staff, the company also wanted a “showcase” for its business customers, says George Coffin, Plantronics’ facilities manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
His role includes managing major construction works such as the UK office redesign, which was completed last year.
As with all aspects of Plantronics’ facilities management, the redesign programme is being carried out with some sensitivity to the local businesses. “You may be in a Plantronics office but you don’t want to detract from the fact you’re in a Plantronics office in Cologne or Amsterdam or Madrid or Milan,” he says. “You want them to have regional identities.”
Coffin heads a small in-house facilities management team that oversees all of Plantronics’ EMEA offices and outsources the basic FM work – maintenance, cleaning, catering – to local firms rather than one multinational service provider. This is partly due to a corporate aim to work with local communities but also because of Coffin’s slightly jaded experience of the big “total FM” suppliers.
“I know they would like our business because of who we are,” says Coffin. “I also feel that they’re brilliant for a few months, and then things go stale and I don’t get the attention my people deserve. With smaller, local companies, I want them to have that wow factor when they walk into Plantronics – and they do. I honestly believe they look after us better. There’s more pride.”
Doug Morrison has been a journalist for 28 years, covering business and property for newspapers and magazines. Before going freelance in 2003, he was city editor of Scotland on Sunday following five years as City Reporter on The Sunday Telegraph.