Barclays Whippany - “A campus for the next generation– and the next generation.”
In this day and age, banking doesn’t exist without technology. 30 miles outside of New York, Barclays campus at Whippany, New Jersey is testament to that. Completed in 2018, shortly before the outbreak of the pandemic, in many ways the vision the team had for Whippany was ahead of its time. Five years on, hybrid working is a part of working life for so many, but back when Whippany was in development, it was still relatively unchartered territory. What we have achieved in Whippany goes far beyond real estate. Working with feedback from hundreds of colleagues, we have created a state-of-the-art, dynamic, and flexible working environment, with all the tools our people need to collaborate, innovate, and deliver outstanding services to our customers and clients. Supported by cutting-edge technology, we have at once completely redesigned the way that our colleagues are able to do their jobs, and transformed the meaning of work in their lives.
Our colleagues at Whippany provide the vital services, systems, support, and security that underpin all the work undertaken by our front-of-business colleagues everywhere from investment and corporate to commercial banking. Disruption and innovation are at the centre of everything they do– so it was important that their new campus reflected these values. New desktop technologies include beautiful 34-inch curved monitors and desk phones with built-in webcams. You only need to visit the futuristic control room that sits at the heart of the campus to see how embedded technology is in everyday life at Whippany.
From the open floor design mapped out to fuel collaboration and quick problem solving, to the many features created to give colleagues a better work/life balance, to the disruptive and groundbreaking approach to Barclays culture itself, Whippany has become the blueprint for Barclays campuses around the world from New York to Northampton. As Site Lead for Whippany Campus, Taskeen Hamidullah-Bahl, puts it, “it’s building a campus for the next generation, and the next generation.”
A culture of collaboration
We know that people are hugely affected by their environment. The innovation threaded throughout Whippany is there to spark creativity, create deeper, more relaxed working relationships, and encourage cross-team collaboration. It is a space set up for colleagues to support and learn from one another in a way that feels natural, authentic, and inspiring. Where, in the past, a colleague might have been working head-down at his or her desk all day, now they are encouraged to get involved: in collaborative huddle spaces, at standing desks, in breakout areas, quiet pods, anywhere that suits them as individuals or cross-functional teams. It’s inspiring to see the campus being used as intended and serving as a prototype for a way of working being rolled out by Barclays worldwide.
The perfect location
“So, where is Whippany?” is something we hear quite often. We may only be less than 40 miles from New York, but it was important to the team that we worked to remove as much of the friction in our colleagues’ working lives as possible. In practice, this looks like regular shuttle buses from nearby Morristown station, Newark, and our 745 office in Manhattan. Morristown itself is a vibrant community with great restaurants, bars, and plenty of accommodation for colleagues based on campus. Lots of our colleagues have moved to Morristown or Newark because of how easy it is to get into the city, as well as to work.
So, yes, the buildings are inspiring, yes, we have cutting-edge technology, and yes, the campus is accessible, but where Whippany truly shines is its revolutionary take on the question of work/life balance. Being motivated and growth-focused should never mean setting aside your own health, wellbeing, or family life. Alongside a futuristic fitness centre, healthcare centre, and vital childcare facilities, Whippany has a wide range of activities and perks available to colleagues. Nature and technology co-exist: along with over 4,000 colleagues, the 63-acre campus is home to deer, wild turkeys, chipmunks, and plenty of other wildlife. While a lot of the land is protected wetlands, the team do their best to be good custodians and make sure wildlife is left undisturbed. Newly-planted pollinator fields have been placed around the campus to attract butterflies and bees, and provide a beautiful floral backdrop for colleague walks and bike rides on the cycles available for all to use. It’s all about helping people get the most out of their time at work and achieving a sense of wellbeing on their office days– a little fresh air can work wonders.
More than a workplace
When you first enter Whippany campus, you can arrive at either what colleagues call The Street or The Alley There is a tech bar where colleagues can make appointments to have their tech issues sorted, a nail bar, a barber, the daycare centre, the healthcare centre, and a print and copy centre. Thinking about sustainability and lowering our carbon footprint is essential, so the print spot is set up to make people think more carefully about what they actually need to print out, and why. Whippany is fully integrated into the environment and relies on low carbon technology, using innovative equipment to drive efficiencies in carbon, energy, and water use, aimed at reducing the facility’s environmental footprint.
Having all of these services in one place is another way to take friction out of people’s working days, freeing up their time and headspace to apply their expertise and creativity to the projects they are most passionate about. Errands can be taken care of before they collect their children and make the commute home. Both The Alley and The Street have baristas, games, arcades, and an astonishing array of food options– all cooked by Michelin-star chefs. Relaxation is so important, but being able to bring your whole self to work goes so much deeper…
A place for purpose
It’s easy to say we want colleagues to feel included, engaged, and empowered– but what does that kind of culture actually look like?
In 2023, employee engagement and wellbeing are critical to a successful workplace. Facilitating that engagement comes from recognising who people are as individuals, as well as colleagues. All of the work that has gone into making the campus what it is would be for nothing if not for our highly-engaged leaders and their commitment to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace where our customers, clients, and communities have the opportunity to flourish. This is one of the most important things we can do in helping people find their purpose, as well as achieve a positive work/life balance.
It’s important to our colleagues that the benefits of what we have created here extend beyond the workplace itself. To help support the communities where we live and work, we have many volunteering opportunities for people to get involved in everything from local charities and food banks to sustainability programmes and river clean-ups.
We also have a wide range of active employee networks and extracurricular activities on campus, where colleagues are celebrated and rewarded for showing up as their authentic selves. Pillars run by senior leaders encourage people to get involved in things like diversity, equity and inclusion, citizenship, sustainability, and recognition. No matter who you are or what you care about, there is an ERG to resonate with you: Spectrum for our LGBTQ+ colleagues, Reach, our disability and neurodiversity network. There’s Women in Technology, a black professional network, an Asian professional network, our military network. Giving colleagues a space to find their people and their purpose is, as we say, as important as your day job.
Cultural moments like Chinese New Year, Diwali and Eid are some of the highlights of the Barclays calendar that acknowledge our different cultures, beliefs, and holidays. From a more practical perspective, our active citizenship programme helps people both inside and outside the business build their skills and confidence so that they can move into a better position in the job market.
With these campuses, we are also rethinking the role we play in the communities in which we operate. We have built very strong relationships with local schools and universities, as well as our partnership with Per Scholas: a local non-profit dedicated to helping people from diverse backgrounds into secure, high-quality jobs. As well as helping people in the surrounding area, these efforts will help Barclays continue to access a diverse pipeline of technology talent.
We feel very proud of what we have created at Whippany– the care and consideration teams have poured into its design and development should be apparent to anyone who visits the campus. But it’s important to note that every element of life at Whippany, from the office floor to The Street, has been created with purpose to better serve the people who work here. The ripple effect of that sense of community is evident wherever you are on the campus. People at Whippany are friendly, supportive, and collaborative– and that’s the thing the team are most proud of.