Workplace Experience: Office / Corporate Environment 2020


Edinburgh Park Office, Diageo & Sodexo

Workplace Experience: Office / Corporate Environment 2020

In November 2019, Diageo relocated 224 staff to a new Scotland headquarters in Edinburgh. In making this physical move, it also incorporated a new working environment designed to empower and inspire its occupants.

Diageo chose an open, collaborative environment which it says was driven by the need for staff autonomy in parallel with social elements to enhance employee wellbeing and productivity.

Diageo’s previous, desk-sharing ratio was 1:1, despite average workspace utilisation of only 60%, with only 20 meeting rooms available to staff.

Staff felt that there was an over-reliance on email and that they were siloed and disconnected from each other. They also felt that IT capacity was inconsistent and fraught with service interruptions; the office was too noisy and lacked space for people to take video calls; and there were variations of heat and air conditioning throughout the building.

Accordingly, the new space was designed to include 22 meeting rooms and 21 quiet rooms or phone booths for private, individual working purposes. The new workplace also included 30 open-plan collaborative spaces, and the ground floor restaurant and bar can be reconfigured for town hall-style events.

Supported by its FM provider Sodexo, which also consults on Diageo’s workplace experience strategy, other initiatives were introduced, such as a catering service designed for use throughout the working day rather than during a traditional lunch hour. The space and catering offering included space for staff to have informal meetings or to work while drinking coffee.

Diageo addressed IT issues by installing improved network and Wi-FI capabilities and invest in wireless keyboards and headsets for staff.

To complement the physical workspace, new working policies were introduced, such as a clear desk policy, supported by personal lockers throughout the building, limiting meeting room and phone booth usage to encourage movement, and a policy for taking phone and video calls in allocated private booths.

Maintenance services shifted from a reactive service to a regular planned maintenance service with the aim to avoid failures.


  • Customer satisfaction scores for Sodexo have risen from 83% to 90% in the 12 months to February 2020. Maintenance services were rated at 88% satisfaction, reception services at 91%, and cleaning services were rated at 98%.
  • The workplace experience design was devised in line with Diageo’s ‘workplace vision’, that work was more than checking emails, going to meetings or sitting at a desk and staring at a screen. Testimonials from staff reflect how the design has achieved this, with feedback on how the space has helped create a positive atmosphere and has been an enabler for a productive working day.
  • Employees in particular describe how they felt involved and empowered to contribute to decisions made during the consultation phase of the project.

Twitter: @DiageoGB