Staff at St Neots company do like to be by the seaside at break times
- Credit: Archant
It may be many miles away from the Suffolk coast, but one East Anglian factory has adopted a novel approach to bringing a sense of togetherness to its 100-strong workforce.
Pico Technology wanted to inject a sense of timeless wellbeing so decided to incorporate the best of Southwold into its "rather careworn" works canteen - by turning it into an Adnams 'pub'.
The fast-growing manufacturing firm makes precision laboratory instruments such as oscilloscopes and automotive diagnostics equipment from its base in St Neots, Cambridgeshire. After the business expanded onto a second site nearby, bosses were concerned it might lose its family feel.
Now its canteen has been transformed into Southwold's Harbour Inn, with employees enjoy their - non-alcoholic - drinks break or lunch sitting at former pub tables. Optics contain fruit cordial and there is even a dartboard.
One wall features a 'trompe-l'œil' window looking out onto a Southwold scene.
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Outside, sheds used to hold 'one-to-one' meetings have been painted up as beach huts, and a 'boat' - surrounded by a sea of blue flooring - is used for discussion group meetings. Fishermens' nets and seagull models are suspended from the ceiling.
Managing director Alan Tong said: "I saw it as vital that we aimed to retain the togetherness that has been at the heart of what we have achieved. Some years ago, we acquired a cottage in Southwold which is made available to our employees to rent for short breaks and holidays.
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"What we have done is to incorporate the best of Southwold into the rather careworn canteen, as well as adding new meeting areas and a place where our team can take their coffee break with a difference."
The idea was the brainchild of facilities boss Ste Greenall, who was charged with coming up with ideas to encourage employees who didn't move to the new site across the road to mix with their colleagues in the newly-leased building.
"The costs of converting what was jokingly called an 'elegant shed' made sound financial sense in uncertain times," he said.
A large area of Pico's main building is now empty, and work will soon begin on remodelling that area, which may draw inspiration from Pico's two other holiday cottages in the Norfolk Broads and Derbyshire High Peak.
Adnams properties boss Nick Attfield said the team at the Southwold brewery and pubs business were delighted by the homage.
"Southwold is a special place and our forever home - creating memories is important to us at Adnams and what a wonderful idea. When we shared this with The Harbour and wider Adnams team it made everyone smile," he said.