What are the timescales over the coming months for Lycetts move to Bank House?
In mid-February our fitout programme will commence and take approx. 16 weeks to complete. We have appointed TR Projects to design and project manage the works and we anticipate that by early June it will be ready for us to move into.
You are moving from Milburn House on Dean Street where Lycetts has been based for 60 years. What does the move to Bank House mean to Lycetts?
We obviously have a very close attachment to Milburn House and being located within the city centre is crucial to us as a business, particularly for our staff who need a central, accessible workplace. We have traditionally visited our clients to meet them to face to face, but we hope the move to Bank House will see a shift in this practice as we become better placed to host clients and guests.
The attachment to Milburn House is particularly pertinent for me as it was built by my great, great grandfather. My grandfather was a close friend of Michael Lycett, the founder of the business, they served together in the same regiment during World War II and he was instrumental in Lycetts taking a lease at Milburn House over 60 years ago.
Please tell us about how the quantity and configuration of your office space will change as a result of your move?
Although the quantity of floor space is not dissimilar between the 2 buildings (approx.10,000 sq.ft) the efficiency of Bank House is far superior to that of an older building such as Milburn House.
The Covid-19 lockdowns accelerated many changes in the way we work, such as the adoption of a paperless office and the introduction of hybrid working patterns.
Moving forward, we do not need to allocate floorspace for the storage of files which is much more efficient and we are creating a much more collaborative, flexible working environment.
Lycetts will move into the sixth floor of Bank House this summer
What is it about Bank House that led you to choose it as your new HQ?
We carried out a comprehensive search across Newcastle and initially considered around 15 options. The majority were existing buildings, together with a small number of new developments and it was interesting to identify that the operational costs were not significantly different when comparing new and old.
We liked the fact that Bank House is a very central location and part of major new destination within the city. We are part of a UK network of 16 offices so being close to the Central Station is essential for our colleagues who visit from elsewhere within the country.
Added to this are the many benefits associated with occupying a brand-new building, in terms of technical specification and ESG credentials, both of which were important criteria.
How many staff will be moving to Bank House and what are they looking forward to?
We have just over 100 staff in Newcastle and it is fair to say that up until a couple of years ago we had a very traditional way of working. The move to Bank House will see us introduce modern ideas and concepts that everyone is looking forward to. For example, we are creating a range of breakout spaces and modern staff facilities as well as investing in new technology such as AV equipment, which will all have a very positive impact on our staff and not something that we have been able to do until now.
Please tell us about how you will configure your new space.
The floorplate will be a largely open plan working environment but we are creating a new reception and meeting rooms, as well as an ‘interaction lounge’ which will provide our staff with a choice of collaborative working spaces.
Each team will have its own ‘neighbourhood’ with autonomy of how they use the desks within that area. There will also be a central working area for any member of staff to use. We think this will be really beneficial to client facing team members and help support collaborative initiatives.
What sort of working patterns do you have in place at Lycetts?
During the Covid lockdowns, we introduced hybrid working which enables our staff to work from home 2 days a week and provide more flexibility around their working hours. We have 100 staff in Newcastle and as a result of the hybrid model, there are usually around 60% of our staff in the office at any one time. This provides us with much greater flexibility in terms how we use our space and the move to Bank House will enable us to introduce a greater range of working environments, but also the opportunity to increase our headcount in the future by as much as 50%.
How important is ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) to Lycetts and how will Bank House support your objectives?
Lycetts is part of the Benefact Group, a family of specialist financial services businesses which gives all of its available profits to charity and good causes. The Benefact Group are the fourth largest corporate charity donor in the UK.
As a business we are committed to the Net Zero Agenda and Bank House will support our goals given it’s market-leading credentials as a BREEAM Excellent building.
This will be the 6th office development project for Lycetts in the past 4 years, as we strategically improve and upgrade the quality of our offices across the UK.
How do you think Lycetts’ move to Bank House will impact the business?
Like many businesses, we are experiencing an increasingly competitive employment market and the challenge of successfully recruiting the right individuals. Our move to Bank House will improve our ability to attract and retain good people. It is much easier to say that you are modern forward-thinking organisation when sitting in an office like Bank House!
We also foresee that the move will have a very positive impact on the strength of internal relations within the office. It is difficult to encourage cross selling and collaborative working when staff rarely see one another and don’t have any sort of connection. The move to one open plan office, and the creation of a range of welcoming workspaces, will engender a more social environment and strengthen the bond between teams and staff.
It will also provide us with the perfect venue to welcome clients and peers to hosts events and seminars, which we are really looking forward to.
Lycetts has signed a 15-year lease at Bank House
Bank House will be completed in April 2023. If you would like more information, please contact Tony Wordsworth of Avison Young or Patrick Matheson of Knight Frank.