Bidwells sets the standard for agile working in Cambridge as ribbon is cut on transformed HQ

15/03/2018

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Leading property consultants Bidwells entered a new phase of its 179-year history this week when its Cambridge headquarters re-opened officially after a transformative refurbishment project to create the city’s most agile work space.

The High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire, Richard Pemberton, cut the ribbon on Bidwells’ high specification Trumpington Road headquarters and its 264 Cambridge staff raised a toast in their modern ground floor café, known as The Brewery Cafe.

Bidwells’ full commitment to Agile Working practices in its carefully designed three-storey 21,000 sq ft home, Bidwell House, means there are no internal offices - other than meeting rooms - and not even the senior partners have their own permanent desks.

Julie Archer, Director of People and Change at Bidwells, said: “’Agile working’ is the term we use, but it boils down to thinking creatively about the task in hand and how you get the best result. It’s all about having choices about the way you work and share ideas.

“We want to collaborate with our colleagues and clients in a flexible way, making the best use of our space and technology and trusting each other to make good choices.

“Our objective is to reaffirm Bidwells as a great place to work; one in which colleagues are empowered to be their best.”

The completion of an ambitious 14-month building project came after two years of research and planning as Bidwells set out to create the city’s most agile work space. 

Bidwells’ Cambridge-based employees will choose to work between a range of ‘anchored desks’, breakout spaces, quiet areas, the 100-seat café and seven meeting rooms. The rooms are named after Cambridge’s most well-known pubs: The Anchor, The Architect, The Castle, The Eagle, The Maypole, The Mitre and The Pickerel.

A famous clock mounted on the exterior of Bidwells’ offices for decades has been moved inside to an internal meeting room but is still visible from the road. The café was named The Brewery Café in homage to the firm’s founders, the Bidwell family, who at one time owned a brewing business. 

The café is run by CH & Co who also run the café at the hugely successful shared working tech-hub, The John Bradfield Centre, at Cambridge Science Park. 

Richard Pilsworth, Head of Cambridge at Bidwells said: “This is a major investment in our people, the City of Cambridge and the wider Golden Triangle region and sets us up for the next generation.

“Bidwells is building a working environment and culture that empowers colleagues, encourages collaboration and supports our core values, with a focus on outputs and achievements rather than artificial measures of time in the office.”  

“We want people to talk to each other and share ideas in an agile way, so we to took our time to design the building around this central aim and we are delighted with the way it has turned out. Our employees love it already.”   

Munro Building Services led on the Mechanical and Electrical Installation side of the project and office design and fit-out specialists, COEL, delivered the internal design and refurbishment. Bidwells’ own architecture and project management teams formed the main consultant team.

Neil Cook, Managing Director of COEL, said: “Not only have Bidwells adopted a brave approach but have led by example, embracing modern agile working methods that set a new standard for the Cambridge office market.

“We are proud to see their teams exploring and enjoying their new office space and look forward to trying out the new café ourselves.”

Bidwells will soon be launching its BWell programme, a series of internal activities and initiatives designed to ensure its employees lead physically and mentally healthy working lives.

Image: Left to right: Richard Pilsworth (Head of Cambridge), Catherine Spitzer (Managing Director), Richard Pemberton (High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire) and Julie Archer (Director of People and Change).

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