One month into life at the new London HQ, Elspeth Rothwell, EMEA CEO at Vested, shares her thoughts on space as a strategic asset for agencies:
In a pre-pandemic world, work was all about being together, every day, with relationships fostered and businesses built at desks across the world. Yet I’ve always believed that the right team could work from anywhere – and as a working mum had to prove that many times over. Who knew that it would take a global pandemic to help shift hearts and minds on workforce trust, connection and delivery.
So in our new work-from-anywhere world, why have we invested in a beautiful new London HQ under the railway arches, rather than adopting the digital nomad life? As an organisation with a fully agile working policy, built on the ethos that you can work from where you want how you want, we trust you to deliver for your clients and your team, why does this space matter so much to us?
Well let’s start with the fundamentals. What we haven’t done is set up another ‘desk farm’. In fact, in the over 40 spaces we looked at before settling on 82 Great Suffolk Street, the very vast majority were that – and they just weren’t right. And we saw extremes: the office with the slide between floors; the townhouse with quirky cinema room and roof terrace, but all were built around a notion that the purpose of a workspace was to come in, plug in and work at a screen all day. With most of us now able to do that at home, that’s surely not enough is it?
Yet what we also didn’t want, having built this business from scratch at the mercy of the serviced office sector, were the supposed perks and quirks that so few people use – I’m thinking the fairground ride bumper car, the ping pong tables, the flat prosecco on tap for 45 minutes every third Thursday of the month.
Ultimately what we wanted was a space that was – basically – better than home. Yet felt like home. A place to hang out, an energy builder, a connection point. The non-negotiables of good coffee on tap (do not talk to me about the issues we’ve had with coffee machines); spaces for noisy creative work alongside places to have quiet conversations; and somewhere light, bright and inspiring.
But while all of that is about the design and logistics, clearly the reality is that this is a space for people. It’s a hub – a convening point – for our team of Vesties, who despite the fully agile work policy are turning up two to three days a week because they want to be together; for our clients who, as one famously said ‘are so bored of my cold grey desk and office block,’ and for our network of partners, freelancers and supporters, who are travelling in from around the world, or just from home, and want to be somewhere that energises and inspires them too.
Why does that matter? Because we believe that agencies of the future (and today!) deliver their best work through connection and if we can be that connection point, and if our space can help us deliver that, then we are setting a new future that we can all enjoy being a part of.