One organisation that has seen a big change for its North East team members in recent months is insurance broker and financial advisory firm Lycetts, which relocated to the fifth floor of Bank House after 60 years at a premises close to its heart.
It was a friendship between Lycetts founder Michael Lycett and his WWII comrade, the grandfather of Newcastle-based divisional director Charles Renwick, who’s family built and then owned Milburn House, that resulted in the firm’s longstanding lease at the Dean Street property.
Wherever the organisation moved to, it was crucial that its headquarters would maintain a modern family feel, based on the traditional values upon which Lycetts was founded. And the team needn’t have worried. In fact, some staff feel the change has given the already thriving firm a new lease of life.
Andrew Hay first did work experience at Lycetts at the age of 14 before joining as an administration assistant. Now, with 13 years tenure under his belt, Andrew is an Associate Director managing a team of 12.
He said: “Having grown up with the firm, I’ve seen the business grow in more ways than one.
“Since moving into Bank House the interaction between team members has improved, which is very helpful in particular for new staff members, but I feel it’s given everyone a lift. Everyone seems more upbeat.”
Andrew feels the impressive surroundings at Bank House, the first of the three new buildings making up Pilgrim Place, have helped boost recruitment.
He said: “There’s no doubt that prospective employees are impressed at the standard of the workspaces we’ve created at Bank House, so recruiting staff is proving easier. It also sets us apart from some of our competitors, but I feel there’s a really positive social experience that comes from being situated in such an environment.”
Andrew’s colleague Oliver Noy, while a relative newcomer to the organisation at 18-months’ service, agrees.
He said: “Because hybrid working is now an established part of our culture, it’s more important than ever before that the office engenders social interaction.
“I know the names of a lot more colleagues since we moved, and walking into Bank House is a great way to start the working day. Our reception enables visitors to look right through onto the office floor. They can see the desks, our colleagues and even the views out of our windows.
“Everything is on show, which makes it transparent – a small but significant point as it helps us seem even more authentic. The move has brought the whole team together.”
In particular, Oliver appreciates the abundance of natural light created within the construction of Bank House in terms of its impact on productivity, mental health and the enjoyment of the working day, all of which were factored into the 14-storey building’s 10,000 sq. ft, column-free floorplates, which are designed to help all occupiers maximise 360-degree views across the city.
Although Lycetts allows team members to work from home up to two days each week, many staff are choosing to work from Bank House full time.
One such individual is Carol Doyle, an Associate Director in the commercial department, who has been at Lycetts for almost 20 years.
She said: “Bank House is the first thing you see when you drive over the Tyne Bridge, so everyone is aware of it, and we’ve had some great feedback from clients because the space lends itself so well to welcoming guests – the move has put Lycetts on the map!”
For Carol, whose team was split across two rooms at the firm’s former premises, the move to Bank House has been a big change, but she feels this has been for the better.
She said: “We have a hot desk policy, so anyone can sit anywhere, and although we did have some concerns about moving to an open plan space, particularly from a noise point of view, the acoustics are excellent, so even with 100 of us in the office we don’t have any issues.
“It’s also been very beneficial from a social point of view, as well as in helping people to understand other aspects of the business outside their own team, which aids with cross-selling between departments.
“The previous layout meant we didn’t see many other colleagues on a day-to-day basis, but as well as hot-desking, here staff are encouraged to use the kitchen area rather than eating at our desks, and everyone is on board with that. It’s working really well.
“The hybrid-working model combined with the hot-desking policy means Lycetts will be able to grow within the space, which is good for the team, and for the city.”
Office accommodation remains available across several floors at Bank House, the remaining suites being marketed by joint letting agents Avison Young and Knight Frank.
For more details about the facilities and the vacant spaces at Bank House, visit bankhousenewcastle.com.