The situation

Bupa is a major healthcare company. It has 84,000 employees serving 38 million customers across 190 countries.

In 2017 the UK offices no longer matched the company’s modern image, nor the needs of its workforce. The leadership team asked us to help them define what a Bupa workplace should look and feel like. They wanted to accommodate additional staff while delivering on the organisation’s vision to encourage people to enjoy long, happy and healthy lives.

Following the pandemic, Bupa’s leaders sought to understand how the business could support hybrid workers and mitigate against both commercial risks and the detrimental impact remote working might have on employees’ health. They also wanted to learn how much space the business required if hybrid working was adopted long-term.

Our approach

We analysed feedback from employee surveys and focus groups to learn about the behavioural processes of Bupa’s staff. By understanding the balance of collaborative and focus activities, we estimated the peak occupancy in the workplace and used this information to inform our space modelling calculations.


When the pandemic struck, we reassessed the effectiveness of Bupa’s workplace processes and identified the opportunities and challenges of adopting a sustainable hybrid work model.

During this time, we engaged the workforce by sharing visualisations depicting ‘day in the life’ journeys of people in different roles within the organisation. This was part of a concerted effort to improve the workplace experience so that it enhanced employee wellbeing and incentivised staff to come into the office.

The outcome

Over the course of our collaboration, we supported the business to consolidate three buildings into one new facility in Manchester and completed the right-sizing of offices in Brighton, Staines, Bristol and Leeds.

We redefined each of Bupa’s six nationwide offices as a ‘support centre’ and provided additional facilities as part of a redesign that optimised each workplace for hybrid and activity-based working in the post-pandemic era. We also suggested that if staff were encouraged to attend the office two days per week, the business could reduce the size of its real estate portfolio by 40%.