Five of the best offices
Until relatively recently the humble office was not really an object to be spoken of; a simple room decorated with tables, monitors, telephones and the odd non-exotic pot plant was not something of any interest, and merely an area of function.
Fast forward to 2015 and the office is no longer so Spartan. A typical office is lighter and brighter. There may be a table football game or a ping-pong table. Maybe there’s a popcorn machine. Perhaps the workspaces are less grey and cube, and more pastel and curved. There are ‘breakout areas’ and artistic designs that are bright and breezy and sometimes tread the line between sci-fi and Willy Wonka.
Allied to that is an improved sense of communication in good offices with strong infrastructures and technology. Feedback and activity is monitored, and hard work is rewarded. In effect a good office has a good culture, no matter its aesthetic qualities. Here then, are five of the UK’s finest offices.
Uncommonly smart, curious and passionate – that’s who we are. Great ideas that shatter expectations – that’s what we do. Our people are empowered and inspired to think about products, companies and challenges in a different way. And we’re just crazy enough to believe you can actually change the world – and how it responds to ideas – through communication.
You might not be aware of their company, but some of you will no doubt be aware of the entertainment they create, such as the game Moshi Monsters - now enjoyed by more than 80m users online. The company moved from Battersea to Shoreditch in 2011, and instantly found its way into a Telegraph feature on Britain’s coolest office. There’s no austerity here; instead, a carnival of colour, monster beanbags, a slide, and tapestries of illustrations from its many games make this building more of a wonderland than a workplace. As a bonus, fans are encouraged to pop in.
The search engine company has three offices in the capital, and they’re as quirky and curious as one might guess for some of the most imaginative and talented people on the planet. Sample rooms to encourage free thinking relaxation and discussion include the green padded luxury of the Velourminous snug, a ‘Lala library’ of white sofas and books, and a literal granny flat. There’s even a padded cell meeting room and indoor gardens.
Nicholas Tye Architects
One would expect a renowned and award winning firm which ‘aspires to create extraordinary buildings and space for clients’ to possess an amazing workspace itself. One would be right; the Bedfordshire-based head office is an incredible building that almost looks open to the elements, built alongside a farmstead and thereby marrying the modern and traditional in one structure. Timber cladding, rust-effect metals and a view across several acres of farmland and water only enhance the grandeur.
The brains behind the ubiquitous ‘meerkat’ campaign have offices across Europe, in London, Peterborough, Paris and Haarlem in Holland. More than seven million customers have benefited from the company’s financial knowledge from more than 3,100 employees. The reasons that the companies’ large, modern offices appear in this list are numerous, from the three different business models depending on the sector of service to the numerous community events in which staff are encouraged to participate, to the many staff perks and wide range of roles available.
Taking the phrase Blue Sky thinking to an almost literal conclusion, employees at award-winning Virgin Money can stare up to a painted sky as they discuss finances with colleagues and customers alike. There are also numerous snug chairs, ornate furniture and a piano in an environment designed to encourage relaxation and creativity in a work sector more known for stress.