Flower delivery network Interflora moved its British unit to Sleaford in 1974 and has been part of the community ever since, employing hundreds at its Watergate headquarters over the years.
In March 2020, every one of the 200 members of staff went home to work remotely, along with the rest of the country, as part of the government guidance during the Covid-19 pandemic. But, despite restrictions easing, the town centre office has remained empty for the two and a half years until now.
This generated speculation around whether Interflora will remain in the town and what the company’s plans are for the future.
“We know we’ve been absent from the Sleaford community for such a long period of time,” says Sian Fell, Interflora’s HR director. “Interflora House has been our home for almost half a century and we’ve had ambitions to refurbish the building for many years.
"So when all of our teams were working from their homes instead of our office, we saw the opportunity for change.
“Over the last 12 months, plans have been under way to completely remodel the inside of our headquarters. We’re creating a social, collaborative space that really reflects the company we are today, and although we’ll be moving to a hybrid working style when we return, the environment we’re creating will encourage our teams to be in the office together after such a long time apart.”
Planning permission was granted on March 25 and Tony Healey, Senior Designer at Interflora’s contractor, TSK, said: “We’ve been given a blank sheet of paper to design a space that works for Interflora in today’s world, and brings their culture and ethos to life. We’ve already taken down all of the internal walls and started to rebuild the new spaces inside to create the structure and flow of the office.”
The building is having new double-glazing and a new main entrance on Southgate, leaving the the Watergate door for deliveries.
“Moving the entrance to the building has allowed us to really open up the reception area, and create a much more inviting welcome to the office,” said Tony.
Unwanted office furniture and equipment was donated to local organisations, including Kesteven and Sleaford High School, to create a Wellbeing Hub for students.