Pioneering inclusive office design for one of the UK’s largest banking organisations.

A CGI of the modern exterior view from across the water of the Barclays campus in Glasgow.

Project brief.

Barclays is a British multi-national bank and financial services company. One of their ambitions is to become the most accessible and inclusive FTSE company for all customers, clients, and colleagues.

Barclays commissioned Motionspot as access designers to work with Gensler and the wider Barclays design team to deliver a welcoming and inclusive office environment for their 5,000 employees and visitors on their new 500,000 sq ft campus under construction in Glasgow.

The Barclays and Motionspot partnership mission was to go above and beyond mandatory accessible design standards. The aim was to create an environment that responds to people with physical, cognitive, and sensory impairments, including designing for neurodiversity, with a particular focus on autism.

“We’re building our new campus from the ground up so it’s a great opportunity for us to think differently about inclusive design from the start. It has been a delight to work with a business partner that shares the same values of inclusivity as Barclays. Being involved in the early stages of the renovation opened exciting opportunities to push the boundaries of what was possible”.

Kathryn Townsend, Head of Customer and Client Accessibility at Barclays UK

Project scope.

We consulted on the accessible layout and facilities of all internal areas including: reception areas, office spaces, meeting rooms, break-out spaces and communal dining facilities. This encompassed the design of sensory and recalibration spaces. We also made recommendations on all interior finishes, which play such an important role in making an office space that is accessible to all. This included lighting, contrast, acoustics, biophilia and signage.

Inclusive facilities

In addition to provision of wheelchair accessible and ambulant accessible toilets, Changing Places rooms are planned in every building on the Glasgow campus. Changing Places rooms have space for assistants to accompany people to the toilet, plus specialist equipment including ceiling track hoists and height-adjustable changing benches.

This included lighting, contrast, acoustics, biophilia, and signage.

Recalibration spaces

Barclays will be offering specific quiet and recalibration spaces in their Glasgow campus. Many autistic people have developed strategies in the workplace that include sensory recalibration.

Recalibration rooms have an emphasis on the sensory experience, which can help to ‘reset’ the mind if a person is experiencing sensory overload. These rooms offer privacy, intuitive environmental control (light, heat), and sensory equipment.

We worked closely with Barclays DDI groups, individuals, and organisations with lived experience to understand the challenges faced in existing sites to inform our recommendations.

Travelling to site.

Routes to and from the new campus were also included in the review to identify potential challenges for Barclays staff and visitors accessing the offices from transport links. Our approach considered cognitive, sensory, and physical impairments. Externally we made recommendations to promote a calm transition into the workplace, including intuitive wayfinding, rest points, and quiet routes.

Based on the success of the initial project, Motionspot has worked with Barclays on a number of other offices, including shaping their international accessible design standard. Our team has presented to the Barclays Global Corporate Real Estate team to encourage improved accessibility across all Barclays locations. We have also provided feedback on design changes required as a result of Covid safety measures. 

“The collaboration between the Barclays design team and Motionspot has created an inclusive workplace that goes beyond standard access guidance. The Glasgow development has paved the way for future Barclays developments, encouraging them to achieve world leading accessible design standards and create spaces that are truly inclusive for all. It took time to get Motionspot involved in the project but I couldn't imagine proceeding with any part of the design without them.”

Ron Coghill, Director, Major Projects Delivery Lead, Barclays

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Motionspot's design team reviewing plans in the office

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