As part of a major business change programme, UBS decided to decommission four office locations in London, including 100 Liverpool Street, 1 Finsbury Avenue and 21 Lombard Street, and move over 7,500 staff into a new London HQ at 5 Broadgate, near Liverpool Street station. The scale, risk and complexity of the project were unprecedented.
Workspace had to be utilised effectively, particularly in specialist areas such as the trading floors. Close collaboration between Restore Harrow Green and UBS was required, and the project aimed for high levels of employee satisfaction resulting from the secure move of employees’ belongings.
Workspaces had to be set up to enable working within 15 minutes of arrival in the new building. Finally, service disruption had to be minimised during the move to ensure client satisfaction. Move programmes are a deeply personal experience for the people involved, so employee experience was a key success criterion of the overall change programme. Restore Harrow Green was one of the primary partner enablers for UBS in achieving its target for every employee to be working at their desk within 15 minutes on their first day in the new building. “By each Monday morning, everything had to be functioning perfectly, from the mission-critical trading floors to the wealth and asset management businesses’ office space,” explains Restore Harrow Green Project Manager Helene Edgar, who is permanently based within UBS and an integral part of its property team.
Led by Edgar, Restore Harrow Green provided two full-time onsite project managers for 18 months in advance of the project to help plan and prepare for the relocation. The team had strict deadlines to meet, as the lease exit dates on the four buildings were fixed. Another key impact standard for the move was space utilisation and effectiveness of the workplace. This was particularly important for specialist areas within the business, such as its trading floors, requiring specialist equipment and desk configurations.
Moving these departments involved a complex multiteam process. This was further complicated by the requirement for key existing workstations and equipment to stay in situ for five days postmove in case of a ‘roll-back’. However, the success of the initial moves allowed UBS to reduce this constraint to three days. Working closely with UBS, Restore Harrow Green created a dedicated move pack for each member of staff that ensured all staff were prepared for the move, understood the support network available and knew what was expected of them. To further facilitate a smooth transition and boost employee engagement, ‘move champions’ were identified within each business or department.
The champions became a central point of coordination for those departments. Regular open forums were held throughout the project to answer questions and address concerns, supporting people through the change management programme and reducing the filing and archiving strain. The move champions personally delivered employee moving packs to help create a stronger, more trusting relationship.
The 5 Broadgate project is the culmination of a 25-year awardwinning partnership between UBS and Restore Harrow Green which began in 1992. The relationship between the two organisations has matured in that time, driven by mutual respect, trust, transparency and integrity. In the past 16 years alone, they have completed 116,000 moves, with an average of 600 people moved per month. During this quarter-of-a-century collaboration, UBS and Restore Harrow Green have worked together to develop best-in-sector approaches to relocation, many of which have been replicated by competitors.
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Your contribution to UBS during these trying times has been exemplary. I congratulate you on your commitment to the Bank.
Andrew Owen - Managing Director
regional head CREAS North/East
& MEA UBS Project
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