Nestlé reveals major plans for multi-million UK headquarters upgrade

The Nestlé group has confirmed extensive plans for a £9 million upgrade of its UK offices at its core York campus, which will be instilled with additional eco-friendly features, reports Neill Barston.

As the business explained to Confectionery Production, its major refurbishment at the company’s Haxby Road location – which is home to its flagship KitKat brand, distribution and research and development facilities, are to include new and enhanced working areas, as well as places to meet and to collaborate informally.

Plans for its Nestlé House site developed before the pandemic have been overhauled to design a workplace expected to fit with the demands of post-pandemic working. After more than a year of working from home, it is expected that Nestlé employees will return to the office with an emphasis on collaboration and flexibility while maintaining a blend of home and office working.

The build, which includes a complete revamp of the building’s plumbing, heating and electrics, has been brought forward so that work can begin while there are fewer people on site. It is the first major refurbishment since Nestlé House was built in 1969. The new office, which houses 900 employees, is scheduled to reopen from January 2022.

Stefano Agostini, CEO for Nestlé UK & Ireland, said: “We are delighted to be investing in our York site. Nestlé House is the home of our famous confectionery business and many of our critical functions. It has a significant heritage and is fundamental to the future of our business. “This investment will help us to provide a modern working environment that supports the health and wellbeing of our people. The new design provides a collaborative working space which is essential for us to come together and connect.

“The design is also kinder to the planet, with energy efficiency solutions to reduce the amount of energy required for heating, lighting and cooling in the building, among other improvements. This supports Nestlé’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reach our target of ‘net zero’ by 2050,” added Agostini.

Nestlé’s Head of Workplace and Wellbeing, Jo Ward, explained the timing of its refurbishment was apt, and had given the company time to reflect on future working requirements.

“We see work as something you do, not a desk that you go to every day. We have learned through our observation and research in Nestlé House even before the pandemic, that only 60% of our current desks were being used at any given time and that very few people spent their full working day at a desk. Instead, their time was more often spent moving between various meeting rooms. “We know people want to come together to work together and connect but they also need the option of quiet space to focus in a different way so our designs reflect this. We have created a variety of working zones so we can encourage employees to work in the area most appropriate for the work they are doing throughout the day. This should allow a much more flexible and efficient use of office space,” added Ward.

Once restrictions are lifted there will be a number of temporary options for employees wanting to work on the site and there are plans for dogs to return to the office with their owners once the refurbishment is complete.

An upgrade to the ground floor of Nestlé House, including new reception, meeting area, gymnasium and redesigned restaurant was completed two years ago. This ground floor area will be one of those available for employees to meet and work together while the other floors are being renovated, once restrictions can be lifted.


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