Acuity, the Axis Group’s Front of House division, is providing professional reception and meeting room management services at the London headquarters of Antares Underwriting, an independent Managing Agent at Lloyd’s.
Antares Underwriting moved its head office to 21 Lime Street last year and now occupies seven floors of the 32,000 sq ft development adjacent to Leadenhall Market. Acuity provides a reception manager, a receptionist and a Business Lounge manager to manage the meeting areas on the top floor business suite.
Antares outsourced its reception duties prior to the move to its new headquarters. Issues with significant levels of absenteeism from its previous team of directly employed receptionists led head of FM Nigel Cole to look for a better alternative.
“Our reliance on agency staff was disruptive, expensive and didn’t provide our internal and external customers with a Best in Class service,” explained Cole. “We wanted a reception team who could truly support our underwriters and help present an extremely professional face to visitors and callers.”
Cole chose to outsource and invited discussions with some of the larger providers, but formed the impression he would have to fit into step with how they operated. “Then we spoke with Acuity,” explained Cole, “who seemed to be very focused on delivering a professional service that was tailored to our needs, rather than simply giving us what they could provide.”
Greater insight gained
Working with Antares ahead of the move gave Acuity a greater insight into how the reception, meeting rooms and Business Lounge could best be managed. This included creating visitor journeys to ensure that visitors are seamlessly looked after.
“It’s imperative to use the space we have as best as we can,” continued Cole. “Acuity helped us do that with the Business Lounge. Our Business Lounge manager co-ordinates all the meeting room bookings, receives visitors and also sets up and breaks down meeting rooms to ensure that they are ready for any internal or external guests.”
The Acuity team have all been recruited in collaboration with Cole and his team to ensure the right fit with the business. They wear high quality uniforms and are given regular training to provide them with the skills to deliver a world-class reception service.
All cover staff are trained on site to minimise disruption and maintain consistency of the professional service the team provides. Indeed, Cole commented: “Having a reserve of fully-trained substitute staff already familiar with our business, ready to come in for planned and unplanned absences, is an absolutely key benefit to our business.”
Outperforming the ‘traditional’ approach
Neil Ames, director for Acuity, believes that the company’s outsourced service outperforms the ‘traditional’ approach to directly employing reception personnel. “We know that we can save businesses money by reducing the spend on temporary cover but, through our selection process and professional training, we can also ensure that businesses experience all the benefits of having high-end, five-star reception services with the support of our head office team. Antares Underwriting is proving to be the perfect example of this.”
Cole agrees that the level of professionalism has increased significantly since working with Acuity. “We now have the five-star service that we expect and a team that takes pride in what it does. The handover from night officers to the reception – and vice-versa – is now much easier without the challenge of absenteeism, while the integration between the two teams is very helpful for the smooth operation of the building.”