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Insight / News

UCAS – Winners of the IWFM Awards 2023 for Workplace Experience – Office / Corporate Environment

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) provides educational support services from its base in Gloucestershire. Their 'Ways Of Working' (WOW) refurbishment initiative aimed to transform their work practices by integrating lessons learned from the pandemic-induced virtual work period with the advantages of a modern workplace.


Among UCAS's strategic goals in their 'Discover your Future' corporate strategy is to ‘Be an employer of choice where people flourish, perform, and achieve.’ This objective was an important element, UCAS’s desire to be an employer of choice demanded it offer an attractive proposition for people to join including working time flexibility and an office environment that people would be proud of.


A physical working environment that enables collaboration was a fundamental requirement, with UCAS partnering with Office Insight to plan out the project.


EDI in at the outset

Notably, the project's distinctiveness lies in its commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) at every stage, involving UCAS's own EDI lead and champions in the design process. Additionally, an independent EDI audit influenced the design, while feedback sessions ensured transparency and understanding among stakeholders.


A staff survey in March 2021 further informed the project, emphasizing users' desire for collaborative spaces. Elements delivered to reflect the UCAS ‘inclusive’ value include electric height adjustable desks (one third of all desks) design spacing to make as many spaces as possible accessible, provision of USB desk fans based on feedback from the Menopause Wellbeing group, gender neutral shower rooms and new building signage which includes braille and meets the requirements outlined in their EDI assessment.

The project, completed in February, involved engagement with CBRE to assess its effectiveness in terms of occupancy and user experience.


Results delivered

From mainly desks and meeting rooms, the new space comprises break out spaces, touchdown desks, formal and informal collaboration spaces and quiet areas. Early indications show that the new environment is achieving its goals with positive feedback and good usage.


Key Points to note:


– Consolidation of space from 5 footplans to 3


– 60% – average desk occupancy


– Reducing  from approximately 400 desks to 144


– 55% reduction in lighting energy consumption (LED replacements seeing 2,000 lights reduced from 36w per light to 16w per light = 125,000kWh reduction per year.)


Read more here on the works we completed for UCAS, in their HQ in Cheltenham.


Interested in getting in touch, to see how we can adapt your workspace for better EDI whilst  boosting brand identity, improving staff welfare, increasing return on investment, reducing costs and making positive moves to decrease your carbon footprint (its an endless list)


Get in touch here to discuss your requirements!



Written on the 23rd May 2024 by

Working behind the scenes, Carlie assists with the purchasing and setting up of new projects and looks after day-to-day tasks within the office.

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