A stone’s throw from London’s busiest shopping district lies the Great Britain (GB) headquarters of one of the world’s most recognized brands: Coca-Cola.
Situated above a disused underground railway station on Wimpole Street near Oxford Circus, more than 200 Coca-Cola employees gather inside the renovated 1920s building each weekday.
Spanning four floors, the London bureau of one of the world’s largest beverage makers is teeming with cultural references to the Coca-Cola brand, from the Coke bottle light bulbs and tabletop figurines made from aluminum cans, to a heritage wall that has memorabilia stretched over three storys.
And that’s exactly what the company’s architects wanted to achieve when designing the office.
“It reflects our culture and brand, while celebrating our heritage as well as our future — so it shows where we’ve been over the past 130 years and where we’re going to be,” Sean Kellett, online content editor at Coca-Cola Great Britain, told CNBC Make It.
He added that it was a “vibrant, modern office” that reflected the essence of London.
The drinks conglomerate dates back to 1886 — the GB headquarters’ heritage wall includes advertisements from the 1940s and beverage-themed album covers, alongside recently-commissioned art installations. A dose of daily inspiration for workers, if you will.
Coca-Cola London has 21 meeting rooms, each kitted out with the latest technology for employees to get in touch with colleagues based around the globe. The office also features quiet rooms to large collaborative spaces.
“The open plan makes it more collaborative. So, I think the idea is actually that you can go up and speak to your colleagues rather than just sending loads of emails. It’s brought different teams together as well,” Charlotte Davies, communications manager at Coca-Cola Great Britain, said.
“We are now in the West End, which means that you feel that there’s a real buzz, so staff feel like they’re in the thick of it. It’s where a lot of big brands are, a lot of major agencies,” she added, saying that after moving offices in 2014 from Hammersmith in west London, Wimpole Street feels like “the right place for a brand like Coca-Cola.”
With the London team responsible for more than 80 drinks across 20 brands, it’s useful to receive input from colleagues before products go onto supermarket shelves.
The London marketing team displays digital adverts in the office to get feedback from other members of staff. And there’s even a fridge tucked away that contains yet-to-be-released, secret beverages.
Staff have access to an array of facilities that help promote a healthy lifestyle. The Wimpole Street office has changing rooms so those who cycle to work, or use one of the subsidized gym memberships nearby, can freshen up on-site.
Also, its Contour Theater space has stepped-seating that can be used for exercises classes, presentations, watching movies or just having a conversation.
The cafeteria offers a range of foods, from salads and sandwiches, to hot dishes — all at an affordable price. In fact, being a major consumer group, coffee, tea, fresh fruit and Coca-Cola’s beverage brands are on every floor — a fingertip away for employees, and all of which are free.
Coca-Cola is one of many companies doing its bit to promote conservation, with sustainability a paramount responsibility for its London team.
At Wimpole Street, the beverage giant has a number of features demonstrating its commitment to the environment, including floors made of reclaimed timber, electricity generated from solar panels and rainwater that’s harvested.
The office also has a rooftop terrace, that all employees can walk around and which features a living wall and bee-friendly plants dotted around, along with seating areas that have chairs made from recycled bottles.
There’s even an apple orchard so once the fruit is ripe, chefs in the cafe can make all sorts of treats, including jams, chutneys and pies.
It offers stunning views across central London and plays host to events from drinking receptions and barbecues, to staging the annual Christmas party.
—CNBC’s Tom Chitty contributed to this report
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