Direct Line Group

A focus on flexibility: Direct Line Group’s innovative new central London HQ

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To attract top tech talent and create a vibrant, inspiring workspace at DLG’s new central London HQ.


We identified the need for flexible, zoned working areas aligned to specific tasks to encourage collaboration and agile working practices.


An exciting, adaptable and sustainable Thameside office reflecting the needs of a dynamic, hybrid team.
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Direct Line Group wanted to combine two buildings into one to establish a groundbreaking central London HQ for its insurance brands. Reflecting the needs of their diverse, hybrid workforce, we designed a vibrant workplace that empowers their people.

The start of a new chapter

Direct Line Group is one of the UK’s largest insurance companies, comprising heritage brands such as Direct Line, Churchill and Green Flag. 

After 35 years in Bromley, DLG recognised that their workplace culture and practices needed to change to keep up with the increasingly competitive digital landscape. The existing set-up, with siloed, hierarchical departments, felt outdated and was hampering innovation and creativity.

The new HQ had to provide an adaptable, collaborative office space with a focus on attracting and retaining top talent – particularly in tech development – and accommodate the hybrid working patterns established since the pandemic.

Supporting the transition

After deciding to relocate to central London, DLG approached us to help define two key parameters. What kinds of work settings did they require? And how much office space did they need?

We carried out an in-depth consultation in which we analysed DLG’s data concerning post-pandemic occupancy levels, the creative needs of their teams, and their business goals. This enabled us to make evidence-based recommendations in line with their defined change trajectory. 

We also helped the team source their new premises – two floors of Riverbank House, with stunning views of the Thames and The Shard.

A flexible way of working

DLG use a ‘managed hybrid’ work style – bringing teams in on synchronised days to focus on collaborative activities. With these shared tasks in mind, we designed five ‘dynamic zones’. For example, the learning zone is assigned to training, the focus zone is for projects requiring privacy, and the social zone is the place to grab a coffee and catch up with colleagues. Each zone is equipped with the appropriate tools, whether that be moving whiteboards or sound-soak materials.

The aim is to encourage an agile work mentality rather than defining spaces according to conventional departmental functions such as marketing or IT.

A future-proof design

While we needed to meet the current requirements of DLG’s workforce, we wanted a workplace design that could evolve with the business.

The zones in Riverbank House are built from an easily adaptable freestanding system. As well as flexibility, this brings sustainability benefits because the pods can be rebuilt and repurposed as the business continues to evolve. We also used existing furniture, bringing chairs and desks from the Bromley offices to start a new life at Riverbank House. All the products, finishes and materials went through a robust evaluation, and the project achieved a Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) SKA Silver accreditation.

The move to central London represents a significant downsize for DLG. Functions that had previously occupied two offices in the south are now being housed in just one building. Scaling down the combined office space of 210,000 sq ft to just 47,000 sq ft has notably reduced the carbon footprint.

Putting people first

To reflect how important well-being is to DLG, we adopted a vibrant colour palette, maximised the natural light in the building, added biophilic installations, and introduced joinery in natural wood tones. We also created a sensory welcome corridor that celebrates DLG’s diverse culture. This dynamic walkway features moving digital images of staff members, a dichromatic lightscape and an adaptable soundscape.

DLG is committed to celebrating diversity and inclusivity, which is why their new office design incorporates carefully considered changes. Welcome improvements include gender-neutral toilet facilities, Braille signage, a multi-faith prayer room, a nursing room, and a calm zone for neurodiverse members of staff.

Facilitating collaboration: for now and for tomorrow

Direct Line Group’s new HQ is synonymous with the company culture – fresh, dynamic and inclusive.

This modern workplace reflects what the business needs now while recognising it will have to adapt to a challenging and rapidly changing commercial environment. 

Our Riverbank House project for DLG is a celebration of togetherness. It’s a fun and collaborative space where staff can make the most of those precious, in-person opportunities

 This project is a great example of a high-performance workplace focused on user experience and tightly tailored to the needs of those users. We’ve helped create a magnetic, effective workplace able to attract and retain top talent. DLG’s offices at Riverbank House now occupy a quarter of the space of the previous buildings, using a quarter of the carbon footprint. There’s an amazing sense of energy there now. It’s an exciting place to be.

Andrew Burns, Managing Director at TSK


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