7 March, 2024
Transforming the way JTI work at their brand-new UK HQ
From Weybridge to Putney, we transformed the workplace experience for team members at international tobacco and e-cigarette manufacturer for the next stage of their business development.

The brief  

Transform the way they work into a more dynamic and flexible approach in keeping with modern working practices.

The solution   

Create an environment that excited, enabled and encouraged employees to come into the office and use the space, complete with various spaces for activity-based working.

The result  

A forward-thinking environment that supports creativity, productivity and wellbeing, making it easy for them to attend the office and engage proactively.

JTI is a member of the Gallaher Limited group of companies, a leading international tobacco and e-cigarette manufacturer. Having been based in Weybridge for many years, changes in the way they work, including more hybrid working and an evolving staff mentality, inspired them to undertake a seismic shift in their working environment. This involved moving their UK headquarters to a more central location in London’s Putney.

The move represents a new era for JTI, but while it was an exciting change it was also one that needed to be carefully considered. The goal was to create a space that was more compact, multifunctional and that delivered benefits to team members that were different to those of working from home, generating a sense of excitement about being in the office.

A new way of working

The 24,000 sq ft space included four floors and a roof terrace, requiring a Cat B design and fit out that would enable the team to move in and start work straight away.

The move from Weybridge was a sea change in the way the team works, away from occupying an entire estate with a near 1:1 desk to staff ratio, to a space that enabled hot desking, collaborative meetings and video calls. 

With many team members living near the former office location, part of the challenge was to create a working environment that would inspire and encourage them to come into the workplace. We wanted to enable individuals to get the most out of their day whilst also creating healthy separation between home and work life. 

“The fit out for JTI embodied a bold choice for the company in how they work and interact with their team, reflective of decisions that many businesses are considering post-pandemic with more options for hybrid working. Their proactive choice to use their office space differently and as a way of inspiring the team as well as taking the business into its next phase, is a powerful one. The design and fit out has been done to reflect that forward-thinking character of the brand.”

Richard Green, Project Technical Director at Maris Interiors

Adapting to change

JTI as a company is all about continuous improvement and creating momentum. As a result, they wanted their new space to enable people to move around, generating community. 

Hybrid working meant that they were changing the purpose of the office space itself. The idea was that each team would come in on the same day to work together. Therefore, each team has its own pod within an open-plan office, complete with a hot desk setting, phone booths for quick meetings or private calls, a meeting room, an open and informal collaboration space, and a meeting point for quick drinks.  

Wanting to adopt a clear desk policy so that workspaces remained flexible, each floor also has a central dress point with lockers so that staff can store their belongings safely, which also makes it easy for people to come into work and removes barriers to being present.

Creating a community

The ground floor of the building opens from the reception area into a large central bar, which is the hub of the company. JTI wanted this to be a focal point where guests are brought in, there’s a coffee area, dining space, soft seating, booths to eat or work at, and a quieter library at the back. 

This floor also has a feature meeting room with a large LED screen. The space has a town hall atmosphere and is optimised for flexibility, so it can be completely reconfigured for events and different occasions.   

The intention is for this to be the place where staff are encouraged to take meals and breaks, nurturing a sense of community and communication, where spontaneous interactions can lead to new ideas and innovations.  

Maximising multifunctionality 

The first, second and third floors are all occupied by working office space, each with a similar format. We worked with the business to identify and understand their needs to maximise usage.

While directors needed dedicated office space, it was quickly ascertained that most of their time was spent away from their desk. As a result, dedicated director offices were designed to double up as meeting rooms with moveable screens for flexibility. A similar approach was taken with the boardroom.

Workplace wellbeing 

To support workplace wellbeing, we created a roof terrace, where we sought planning permission for a canopy and created different zones for teams to relax or work in. There are pods with lighting, heaters and power supplies as well as space for events supporting the flexibility of space as well as providing employees with spaces for outdoor work.

The company sought BREEAM and Fitwel accreditations for sustainability, part of which included adding herb and vegetable gardens within dedicated planters, alongside other plant life and biophilic details to optimise wellbeing. 

Completing the holistic experience for employees, the office is bookended with a wellness room in the basement, complete with massage chairs and design that encourages a moment of peace within the working day enabling employees to reset when required.  


Setting the tone 

We worked on an aesthetic that reflects the industrial features of the building, with softened iterations of the exposed ceilings, wood and concrete details, alongside a colour palette derived from their logo. 

Meanwhile, the finishing touches on a project are all about layering details – the plant life, the rugs, the placement of ornaments – these are the things that showcase the space and bring the brand personality to the fore. 

While minimalism was the essence of the design motif, there was also an emphasis on a sense of comfort. The finishing touches were instrumental in achieving that result, adding texture and colour through rugs and scatter cushions to soften the space and give an inviting, residential feel.

As a result, the muted facets create a sense of calm alongside the dynamic energy of the space, while acoustic panels, moveable screens, different coloured carpets and coloured glass allow for multifunctional use. 

“The finishing touches are so important because they really bring everything together in the end. Clients invest so much in making sure that their spaces are right for them and their teams, these last details are essential to completing on a professional note and setting the tone for the working environment going forward. JTI is the perfect example of that process working at its best.”  

Design Director at Maris Interiors

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