Published: 06:00, 12 January 2021
| Updated: 14:30, 12 January 2021
A huge call centre building once used by 600 Saga workers is being shut and sold as employees start working from home permanently.
The 6.5 acre plot at the Eurokent Business Park on Haine Road in Ramsgate was built in 2003, starting out with 200 staff and rising to 600 over the next two years.
In 2017, the company, which sells holidays and insurance to the over-50s, cut 100 jobs across its sites in Folkestone, where its headquarters are based, and Thanet, with a further 300 announced last year as a result of the pandemic.
Saga has now confirmed it is selling some of its sites, including the purpose-built contact centre in Ramsgate.
A spokesman says following the successful transition to at-home working ushered in by the pandemic, the company is moving to a predominately home-based working model.
"This permanently flexible approach means it is no longer necessary for us to maintain as much office space as we previously held within our portfolio," he said.
"Therefore, we are actively looking to close a few of our sites to allow us to focus on ensuring working from home is an exceptional experience for all of our colleagues and creating a hub at Enbrook (in Folkestone).”
When the call centre opened in 2003, company chairman Roger de Haan said the building could be extended to take between 750 to 900 employees.
The large site, which has 271 car parking spaces, is on the market with estate agent Sibley Pares, but the firm has not revealed the asking price, instead marketing it as 'price on application'.
The agent says it has the potential for the existing building to be extended with the infrastructure already in place to do so.
"You enter the building via reception through an impressive atrium which leads through to the main open-plan office environment fitted out with sound proofing and quirky design features," the agent said.
"There are a series of individual and larger meeting rooms plus conference centre facilities which can be subdivided into smaller areas plus an impressive staff canteen with full commercial kitchen facilities.
"On the first floor mezzanine it is again primarily open-plan with some separate meeting rooms and feature balcony area.
"There are various break-out areas offering internal and external accommodation all situated in landscaped area with approximately 271 car parking spaces."
Saga, one of the county's biggest employers, has been hit hard by the Covid crisis and saw its cruise ship operations suspended last March.
The company had to refund £44million to customers due to cancelled holidays caused by travel restrictions.