RSPCA to sell its head office under plans to move to hybrid working model

Internal polling has shown that the majority of office-based staff want to work from home more

The RSPCA's head office in Southwater, West Sussex
The RSPCA's head office in Southwater, West Sussex

The RSPCA plans to sell its head office and relocate to smaller premises as part of a move to more hybrid working practices. 

The charity said it had put its 72,000-square-foot office in Southwater, West Sussex, on the market and intended to find smaller premises in the same area. 

It is also finalising arrangements for renting a new 4,500-square-foot “hub” in central London that will provide drop-in office space for staff. 

The plans are part of a move towards more flexible working arrangements after a survey conducted by the charity found that 83 per cent of the 380 support staff based at Southwater said they wanted to increase the time they spent working from home. 

The charity said the amount of time people spend in the office and the hours they work would be agreed in consultation with managers and would depend on the work of their teams at particular times of the year. 

The needs of the business and employees’ personal commitments such as caring for children or other family members would also be taken into account. 

The charity said a move from the Southwater office would not take place until 2023, although the London hub is due to open in November. 

Asked how much the head office was expected to sell for, an RSPCA spokesperson said: “We know the site is valuable, so we are testing the market to see how much it is worth to different audiences.”

The spokesperson said the size of the office the charity would be looking for in the Southwater/Horsham area would depend on the results of a six-month hybrid working pilot, which is due to start next month. 

Chris Sherwood, chief executive of the RSPCA, said as the charity was developing new ways of working that did not depend on staff being in an office every day, it could look at “more modern and flexible accommodation options in the future”. 

He said: “As part of our drive to become a more modern and sustainable organisation, we will move to a smaller building, which will significantly reduce our running costs, be closer to rail links, reduce our carbon footprint, and make us more accessible to a more diverse pool of candidates when we are recruiting.

“The sale of Southwater will also free up money we can use to fund the vital and exciting work to modernise and improve the RSPCA so we can continue to rescue animals most in need now and into the future.”

Sherwood said the London hub would put the charity in a good location for its advocacy work at Westminster and close to other charities and potential partners. 

The RSPCA’s 10-year strategy, published in January, pledged to put partnership working at the heart of its operations

The charity announced last year that it planned to work more closely with its fellow animal welfare charity Blue Cross in areas such as purchasing and supplies in order to save money.

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