A multi-storey interior office lobby is softly lit from surrounding floors, with tall green plants and box seating in the open space
Image: William Fry

Take a look inside William Fry’s slick Silicon Docks office space

6 Jul 2018

William Fry has taken a leaf out of its tech clients’ book when it comes to a focus on workplace design and employee facilities.

In April 2015, William Fry moved to a new high-spec office in Dublin’s ‘Silicon Docks’. According to managing partner Bryan Bourke, this move provided William Fry staff with better transport links, improved individual workspaces and ample additional facilities – such as a 24-hour gym and on-site restaurant.

“Office design has a direct influence on staff morale, health, wellbeing and productivity,” said Bourke, who answered more of our questions on the office space below.

What considerations have been made in the design of the William Fry office space?

This location offers a really positive and bright workspace with a selection of facilities and services for all William Fry staff to help them effectively manage a healthy balance between work life and personal life.

The sheer size of our building with over 100,000 sq ft enables us to have a mixture of shared offices and open plan so, when deciding where to locate staff in the building, we were able to achieve the best mix to encourage more collaborative working. Aspects such as the lighting, furniture, reduction of clutter and office layout all help to facilitate and encourage cross-departmental communication, and on each floor we have meeting points for people.

A suite of modern meeting rooms is available for client meetings, along with a large meeting space to host conferences and a rooftop garden. We also have a fully equipped dedicated training space, which has been created specifically for our in-house training needs.

The building was designed with IT infrastructure at its core. As a result, we have a building that houses a high-speed network with cutting-edge technology infrastructure, high-tech AV systems, new PCs and laptops, and the latest phone and communications technology systems.

All desks have dual screens and all staff have VDU/DSE assessments to ensure their posture while at their desks is correct, and that their monitors and keyboards are in line. We also carry out VDU eye tests regularly.

What kind of facilities are available for employees in the space?

Our part-subsidised on-site 2eats restaurant serves freshly cooked meals by a team of in-house chefs throughout the day, on a cashless payment system for added convenience. In addition, the restaurant offers an online ordering facility via a dedicated app, as well as a coffee dock staffed by fully qualified baristas.

We went through a vigorous process in selecting our catering company to ensure we avoided ‘heavy canteen food’ and had lighter, healthier options for everybody. Various seasonal promotional menus as well as healthy eating initiatives are a regular feature in 2eats. Staff can also bring their own food to the restaurant to enjoy, and we have a facility in place to order meals for delivery to the office for those who may need to be at the office after 8pm.

We have an on-site gym open 24/7 offering personal training sessions, individual fitness assessments and a full timetable of discounted classes, from Pilates and yoga to cardio core and body conditioning. Our changing rooms include rainforest showers and a free towel service.

We also encourage people to come to work in a way that contributes to fitness. We provide a large number of underground bike racks, wet and dry lockers, a drying room for gear and showers in the basement for those cycling, walking or running to work, who may be exposed to our inclement weather! We also have lockers in our offices for storing personal belongings, and our staff can avail of a discounted on-site dry cleaning service with pick-ups and drop-offs at the office.

We arrange regular health and wellbeing events, as well as initiatives for staff to raise awareness and encourage healthy lifestyle choices. This involves various practitioners and holistic product suppliers spending the day at our offices, providing staff with information and free consultations such as massage, posture or spinal screening, and blood pressure testing.

We have a busy sports and social committee arranging events throughout the year, which are subsidised by the firm. Some events take place in our offices and others off-site. We relaunched and rebranded our CSR programme in 2017, which saw the formalisation and a real step-up of our CSR efforts. The committee arranges a variety of events and initiatives, with staff having the opportunity to participate in fundraising and volunteer to raise money for our chosen charity partners throughout the year.

Does location play a part in attracting and retaining employees?

Location plays a huge part in someone’s decision to accept a new role or not. Where we are located is a really exciting part of town. The office also needs to be convenient for people.

Our offices are served by extensive public transport options. We have a number of bus stops on our doorstep, with the DART station a seven-minute walk away. The Luas red line is just a 10-minute walk from our front door and Grafton Street is only a short stroll away.

We overlook Grand Canal Dock and can have a view of the ocean from our rooftop garden. With studies showing that being by the sea has a positive impact on mental health, reduces stress and improves alertness, this is no bad thing.

As the Docklands expands and develops, there are a growing number of restaurants, cafés and bars catering to every taste and pocket. We are located right next door to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre and the 3Arena is a short walk away, making it very easy to avail of evening theatre and concerts!

Grand Canal Square on a sunny day, glass buildings visible in the background, and green spaces and striking red sculpture in the foreground

William Fry’s office building (centre) on Grand Canal Square, Dublin. Image: William Fry

A high wall covered with line after line of large carved letters overlooks a neat seating area in the lobby

Inside the lobby. Image: William Fry

A reception area with plenty of seating, colourful art on the walls and windows looking out into evening light on the city

Reception. Image: William Fry

Glass-walled offices on the top floor with the wall of letters visible in the background

Top-floor offices. Image: William Fry

The view through the windows into the 2eats canteen where employees are enjoying their lunch

2eats restaurant. Image: William Fry

A gym with acid-green walls is stocked with equipment, weights, kettle-bells and colourful exercise balls

24-hour gym. Image: William Fry

Rooftop garden with grass mats, plants and areas for seating and standing

Rooftop garden. Image: William Fry

The view into Dublin city, as far as the mountains, from the rooftop garden

View of Dublin. Image: William Fry

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