Inside Superdrug's 55,000 sq ft Croydon HQ
How do you create a workplace that embodies one of the UK high street’s most fun-loving brands? Add a solid dose of playfulness, a drop of colour and a lot of corporate character.
After almost 40 years at their previous Croydon office, Superdrug decided to relocate to a more central location to better reflect its brand and create a more efficient working environment. We worked to define their requirements, analyse their space usage and design and build a collaborative space that would excite and motivate their colleagues day after day.
Whether it’s moving somewhere quiet with a laptop to focus, catching up over coffee, or taking advantage of a formal meeting room for a supplier briefing; Superdrug were after a variety of working spaces to suit the varied needs of their teams.
We developed the office in three phases – defining Superdrug’s requirements, designing an inspiring work environment, and delivering the office.
We carried out workshops, surveys and interviews to understand Superdrug’s core objectives for the new office. Results showed that reinforcing their collaborative culture and wellbeing philosophy were their top priorities to reflect in the new office design.
From the second you walk into the office, we wanted clients and colleagues to know that they’re somewhere special. That’s why we swapped the formal reception for a relaxed concierge desk, and used the Superdrug logo as a feature two metre star cutout (in Superdrug pink, of course).
We’ve embodied the Superdrug brand throughout the rest of the office to create a distinct connection between the HQ and their hundreds of high street stores. When you make your way into the communal areas, you’ll see full wall graphics of the London and Hong Kong skylines, a gentle nod to the partnership between Superdrug and their H.K-based parent, A.S. Watson Group.
We designed an ‘activity based’ working environment to give employees a choice of how, when and where they work. We’ve used furniture and varying colour schemes across the floors to designate areas for different activities; including collaboration zones, contemplation spaces and ‘touch-down’ desks. This helps to integrate teams and turns the office into a destination where employees can meet and discuss ideas, however they choose.
Our initial research found that 73% of all meetings in the old office were between less than four people, indicating that space was not being used to its full potential and that smaller flexible spaces could provide better space utilisation. We’ve even used a series of circular semi-enclosed sofas to provide spontaneous meeting areas.
Central services on each floor (such as printers and tea points) are placed on the perimeter of the main working areas, which is a simple design tactic to encourage spontaneous collaboration between colleagues. Each floor also has a distinct colour scheme to further add personality to each division.
Superdrug’s corporate values were incorporated through using large colourful, branded graphics to add a splash of personality and also absorb sound from the open plan office. In total, a whopping 2,900 sq ft of branded acoustic panels were created – the equivalent size of Wimbledon’s centre court!
We also installed a mock shop, which allows teams to demonstrate how new products will appear on shelves around the country. Colleagues can even take advantage of a pharmacy and drop-in clinic for healthcare and beauty appointments in the same style that they offer on the high street. How’s that for giving staff ‘That Superdrug Feeling’!
After almost 40 years in our previous office this is a huge move for the business. The new office creates a more inspirational workspace that totally reflects our brand’s culture, vision, mission and values.Jo Mackie, Superdrug Customer & People Director