Tesco transformation project 2016

  • Relocation
  • Storage
  • Clearances
  • IT
  • Remanufacturing
  • Interiors

Client requirements

Premier Workplace Services has been working in partnership with Tesco Stores for over 17 years and provides the UK’s leading grocery retailer with a completely integrated service covering move management, move logistics, interior refurbishment, IT and telecoms relocation works, sustainable clearances and office furniture remanufacturing.

With rapid advancement in technology, increasing property cost and a more flexible workforce, Tesco was seeking to implement an agile working environment.  To this end, Tesco wished to close its previous head office operation in Cheshunt, then move and install all head office teams across the existing Tesco estate at Welwyn Garden City.

The project was to include:

  • Refurbishment of 20,000m2 of office space over 15 floors in 13 phases
  • Relocation of over 5,300 staff from 45 different departments
  • Removal, safe transport and installation of all IT equipment
  • Remanufacture of over 2,400 items of furniture for reuse

The project’s time allowance was September 2015 to April 2016. The sheer scale of this unprecedented operation, delivered in a live working environment was to involve intense collaboration between Tesco Stores facilities management team and all divisions of Premier Workplace Services.

Project solution 

Planning the transformation of Tesco at Welwyn Garden City

To achieve the rollout of agile working across the entire estate, a complex programme of activity was developed from Spring until September 2015.  This detailed planning stage captured all elements needed to be delivered including the refurbishments, the staff and IT moves, and furniture roll outs as well as the sustainable exit from Tesco Head Office and integration of these teams across the seven-building estate at Welwyn Garden City.

Premier and Tesco devised together a schedule that saw over 6,300 positions moved for over 5,300 staff from across 45 different departments, each with very differing needs.

As the concepts represented a radical change to the working environment, Premier undertook a trial project for an area affecting 250 staff. Learnings from the successful trial were integrated into the strategy.

Interior works

Refurbishment of 20,000m2 of office space

Premier refurbished five out of the seven buildings across the estate, totalling over 20,000m2 of office space across fifteen floors.  This comprehensive refresh programme was designed to encompass the agile working environment ethos and included:

  • Stripping out the offices and carpet, identifying items for reuse where feasible
  • Building new offices, meeting rooms and ‘take a call’ rooms with ‘write on’ walls for collaborative working and effective sound installation
  • Re-patching and repairing of ceiling tiles
  • Replacing and renewing lighting systems including introducing LED lights
  • Upgrading and replacing all the HVAC systems and modifying this to support the new meeting room environments
  • Building partitions, informal workspace and project areas
  • Installing and decorating zones for kitchen, recycling and work areas
  • Remanufacturing 1,574 desk positions, 150 meeting tables and 90 shelving units

Typically, the refresh of each floor (between 3,000 and 5,000 sq. m) was completed over a two- to three-week period.

To see a video of the project please click here

Communicating with and relocating over 5,300 staff

Communication was an integral part of the smooth running of this project in order to move staff seamlessly into the new agile working environment. Under consultation from Tesco, staff were provided with locker crates to move personal items from fixed positions into the new locker system.


Delivery of this incredibly intensive transformation project started in October 2015 and ended in April 2016.  All the moves were completed in thirteen phases, across weekends, to ensure there was limited disruption to the business operations

Meeting all IT and AV requirements from the moves

As part of the ongoing integrated services supporting Tesco business operations, Premier’s embedded team at Tesco managed the IT and AV requirements of the project. This included collecting and testing all equipment as staff moved, ensuring that they could continue business as usual. The Premier Tesco team also identified items that could be reused across the estate as well as auditing all IT and AV requirements, purchasing new items based upon that audit, taking delivery of all purchased items and distributing it in line with the relocation programme.

Once the successful move and installation was complete, the final stage of the project was to perform a sustainable clearance of Tesco’s former head office in Cheshunt, reusing items were possible or with redundant items donated to charity through Premier’s Giving Back Project. All waste items were managed in line with waste hierarchy policy.

Cost and environmental savings from remanufactured and reused furniture

Premier's remanufacturing facility, the Renew Centre - for which the company has recently won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development – was integral in achieving the cost and environmental savings.

  • Existing bench desks were remanufactured into team tables for over 1,574 positions
  • 150 meeting tables were remanufactured
  • Offcuts of wood from this process produced nearly 90 shelving units.
  • Office chairs and other soft seating were reused where viable
  • New items were funded by the savings made on reuse.

The cost savings estimated by Tesco from remanufacturing are in the region of £200 per position, totaling over £315,000 on desks alone across the transformation project.  In addition to this the shelving, soft furniture refurbishment and meeting table saved another £75k.   The carbon savings made from this large-scale reuse is estimated in excess of 100 tons of CO2 (e).


Project feedback

As a result of this partnership, Premier Workplace Services has achieved one of the largest scale relocation and refurbishment programmes undertaken in recent times and delivered it on time, with significant cost savings and considerable environmental and social benefits.  The Tesco team are exceptionally pleased with the results of their new working environment as well as the financial and environmental savings that were able to be recovered thanks to Premier Sustain’s initiatives.

“A massive thank you from us all.  We moved in today and all has gone seamlessly - everyone loves the space and we are really chuffed to be working in such a great environment.  Our thanks go to all your team for making it possible - quite a feat to pull off.”

Services provided

  • Relocation of office
  • Development of a new shape of worktop for the work benches.
  • Introduction of an under-desk monitoring system
  • ‘Quiet areas’ throughout the office using specialist furniture to reduce noise
  • New flooring
  • Meeting rooms were created
  • Complete refresh of the kitchen area
  • Recycling zones created across the office space.
  • Decoration of walls and new lighting
  • Relocation of IT and communications equipment with minimal disruption to workflow.

Case study: Tesco transformation project 2016

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