Virgin Money adapts offices to fit flexible and collaborative working

Virgin Money is repurposing its offices to fit a future where staff will work from home and visit offices to collaborate

Virgin Money has become the latest financial services firm to permanently embed flexible working into its business, after realising its benefits during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The bank, which is the renamed Clydesdale and Yorkshire Group following its acquisition of Virgin Money, is decreasing its office space as part of its formal flexible working policy, which combines home working with collaboration in specially designed offices.

In September, Virgin Money introduced a flexible working package for employees. Known as “A Life More Virgin”, the initiative formalises flexible working for staff, following its success during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Under A Life More Virgin, the majority of colleagues will be able to work remotely for significant periods of time, travelling to offices primarily for collaboration purposes,” said the finance firm.

As part of the new policy, the bank said it would “deliver modern, collaborative hubs for colleagues in its key locations”.

In Glasgow, the company will move its staff into a new purpose-built office, expected to be the city’s largest, at the end of 2023. It will reduce use of two other offices in the city, which will provide collaboration spaces while work on the new building takes place. Another location, Granite House, which was closed at the start of the pandemic, will not reopen.

Next year, Virgin Money will close six buildings at its Jubilee House site and transform two of the remaining buildings into collaborative spaces, with another building retained. Offices in Leeds will also be upgraded.

According to Fraser Ingram, chief digital and innovation officer at Virgin Money, staff now have much more flexibility to choose how and where they work. “To support this, we will ensure we offer modern, vibrant and collaborative hubs in our key locations, striking the right balance between creating spaces to support the needs of our colleagues, cost efficiency and our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint,” he said.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns across the world forced businesses to pull out all the stops to enable staff to work from home. It also instigated a major rethink of future working methods.

For example, last year, Dutch bank ABN Amro announced plans to sell off its headquarters in Amsterdam and redesign one of its facilities to support the increased adoption of remote working. The bank announced plans to cut 2,800 jobs – 15% of its workforce – sell off its headquarters in the Zuidas business district of Amsterdam and redevelop another office in the city to support remote working.

In February, HSBC announced plans to reduce its office space by 40% and move to a hybrid working model that would enable staff to work from home as well as in offices.

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