Sky Betting and Gaming, better known as Sky Bet, has decided to uproot itself from its current office in Leeds to one down the road. The gaming company employs many of the city’s residents and will put around 1,400 of these in its new digs on Wellington Place, a newly-inaugurated commercial zone. The new facilities come with some added characteristics to conform to a COVID-19 world; along with several other changes designed to help its workforce stay protected from the coronavirus, Sky Bet is preparing to develop what it calls “neighborhoods” at its new facilities.
As with many companies around the world, Sky Bet has transitioned to allow many employees to work from home in order to control the spread of COVID-19. The Flutter Entertainment-owned gambling operator will continue its WFH scheme, but also anticipates employees spending about 40% of their time in the new offices. According to Sky Bet Brand Creative and Sponsorship Director Michael Afflick, the goal is to “promote working from home when [employees] want to and coming into the office when [they] need to.”
That transformation in the operational model required Sky Bet to alter its office blueprint, developing a hybrid solution that will provide an inviting atmosphere for employees. It is establishing its on-site neighborhoods, which are described as physical spaces at the facility to which employees can connect while working from home. These areas occupy the second through sixth floors of the new building and each floor will hold anywhere from eight to 18 meeting rooms and 266 desks. The ground floor of the building will offer reception and retail areas. There will also be a gym, a cafeteria, a gaming room and a faith room.
Afflick explains, “We’re preparing for a post-COVID world so the desks won’t be two metres apart. We want to make coming into work more appealing than it ever has before. We think that part-time office working and more collaborative spaces will set us up better for the future.” The new spaces are still being finalized, with Sky Bet pushing for a grand opening before the end of May. When it’s all done, the company will have at its disposal a total of 136,000 square feet, up from the current 105,000, and will offer almost twice as many meeting rooms as it did before, increasing the number from 37 to 79. The design also comes with technological upgrades, with Sky Bet building an app that will allow its employees to reserve meeting rooms and parking spaces, and introducing state-of-the-art video conferencing and audiovisual equipment.