Campus life: inside Barclays’ offices of the future

02 July 2019

The workplace is changing – and Barclays wants to take colleagues ‘beyond the office’. From investing in top tech to collaborating with universities, we hear from Global Head of Location Strategy and Corporate Real Estate Services Vivienne Grafton on how the bank is creating office spaces with “excitement and buzz”.

When Barclays’ Whippany office in New Jersey, US, opened in July 2018, it was clear that this was something entirely new for the bank.

The development of the campus is part of Barclays’ vision to create campuses of scale and create unique working spaces that are both distinctive and attract the best local talent.

Vivienne Grafton is Barclays’ Global Head of Location Strategy and Corporate Real Estate Services and is overseeing the project that involves developing similar campuses in Glasgow, Scotland and Pune, India.

She’s passionate about Barclays’ ambition, and believes the bank is creating sites that are truly world-class: “Our main aim is to create fabulous environments for our colleagues. That’s about attracting and retaining the best talent and creating something that is unique.

“When bringing a campus to life, it’s about enabling people to collaborate, drive ideas and focus on innovation. We want our colleagues to feel inspired, energised and motivated.”

For Grafton, this means Barclays has to lead the way as an employer: 

Whippany Campus in New Jersey

The Whippany campus is located in New Jersey

“We have to be innovative in supporting our colleagues, whether that’s by providing a crèche for working parents, focussing on the wellbeing of our colleagues or simply giving people choices – Where do you want to work? How are you going to build your career? Where do you want to eat? How do you want to exercise?

“This means evolving how the campuses operate so we’re able to keep up with colleagues’ changing expectations and needs as well. 

Whippany campus gym

Barclays’ Whippany campus boasts a gym for colleagues to use

It also means co-location; ensuring the right people are at the right sites so they can work together, face-to-face, on a daily basis.

Barclays’ global campuses are strategically placed in both urban and rural areas. At the heart of the thinking is matching the location with the talent pool in a given area. This includes reaching out to the local community and upskilling local students so they are well-placed to apply for roles at the bank.

In Whippany, for example, Barclays is forging a relationship with Rutgers University to ensure students have the opportunity to train in relevant areas. 

“We recruited a new facilities lead from the local university,” says Grafton. 

“He’s already started bringing in connectivity: organising tours of the campus, meeting senior colleagues, running sessions showing what it’s like to work there. But also thinking about how programmes at the local university can be run to match the sort of talent we’re looking for

“At Whippany, there’s a sense of excitement and buzz. You see colleagues in a building of over 1,500 people, communicating in new ways.”

Vivienne Grafton

Global Head of Location Strategy and Corporate Real Estate Services , Vivienne Grafton

What is Barclays’ vision?

The development of world-class campuses sits at the heart of Barclays’ strategy: “We are creating exciting new opportunities for people to progress their career, we are innovating for our customers and clients and strengthening our links to the local community. That’s the kernel of the idea, allowing people to flourish.”

There’s also a plan to take tech to the next level - “that means video conferencing, Wi-Fi everywhere, being able to move in different locations.

“Tech, for us, should be handheld going forward. If you’re in Manhattan and want to catch the coach to Whippany, we want to build something that will enable you to book the seat on an app, you should be able to book a desk and even arrange a meeting with your personal trainer, or see what’s on offer at the restaurant that day.”

“We want colleagues to have a sense of excitement, to be in a place where they feel comfortable and supported by the company. There is a bit of magic around Whippany and will be in each of our  global campuses. Colleagues want to be there, and that is the most satisfying part for me.” 

Whippany, Pune, Glasgow

Whippany, US

The Barclays Whippany campus is in a rural landscape, but has the look and feel of one in a much larger city. Less than an hour from Manhattan, the 63-acre site houses over 1,500 colleagues from across the Americas. The campus has the very latest technology and working spaces, a fitness club with outside exercise area and onsite childcare.

Pune, India

Set in a newly developed international business zone, the Pune campus will occupy two connected towers above a structured parking platform. The campus will focus on integrating colleagues in regional culture and social and learning engagements. Among the benefits for colleagues are food outlets offering regional and international dishes, a fitness facility, childcare and a roof deck with outdoor activities throughout the year.

Glasgow, Scotland

In July 2018, Barclays announced plans to develop a site in Glasgow that would bring 2,500 jobs to the city. The campus in Tradeston, on the banks of the River Clyde, is already being shaped by a sensitivity to the local culture and architectural environment. Located in an area of the city that’s been under-invested in for many years, Barclays’ redevelopment will be part of the future, while reflecting local history. The site will include food outlets, curated shops run by local entrepreneurs, a conference centre and a creche for working parents.