Four turgid walls stared blankly at me. For the fifth time in a week I had started the working day in the dark and I knew again when I left, I’d be greeted again with the melancholic embrace of pitch black. Weekends aside, my less than bombastic working week was full of darkness. 5 years ago following the rapid growth of our brand, Ecig Wizard, we had secured the lease of an industrial unit (the shaky cam footage still exists on Youtube!). With 10,000 square foot of warehouse space, and half again for office area, the unit was absolutely perfect. The only problem was the office had no windows. And it was all rather depressing.
Let there be light
So having worked deep away from any form of life, like a subterranean mollusc for 5 years, myself and my colleagues can say, with some pretty weighty authority, that the workplace has a large bearing on your output.
When we took our new premises, just a mile down the road they had a feel of a David Brent inspired office environment. The grubby tea stained blue carpet and wretched grey roof tiles. The cupboard (where I swear someone was gagged with a post it note and bludgeoned to death with a stapler) with prolapsed ceiling that proudly called itself ‘Marketing’. No wonder it took us over 12 months before we would finally move in.
It was our goal to create the ultimate workplace. The first thing we brought in was an interior designer who ripped the rule book up. We opted for entire open floor plan. No corporate signage; in fact none at all. We weren’t there to sell, we were there to work on our brand. The frontage has full length sliding doors to swallow every available bit of light. To the right, we have open work stations, where there is admittedly some structure, but the formality ends there. At reception huge sofas for informal meet and greets. Behind, a large table with chairs of juxtaposing colors. Bright, airy and without any form of rigid corporation. At the back is what I can only describe as a portal into an American diner. Two long facing seats, tucked away from the hustle of the workday, with privacy for those that want it. All this has taken the stress of work away and opened up a creative environment in which we’ve quickly flourished.
Work hard, play hard
By far my favourite area is the bar. With the usual coffee machine, there’s drinks fridge with instant hot and chilled water. A long bar table has fitted charging points and USB docks. Perfect for charging your laptop and checking your emails over an espresso first thing.
And behind that, an air hockey table, which pumps out fair ground style music and merriment. On the chalkboard walls behind, tally charts keep scores from day-to-day.
British Politicians (of the blue kind anyway) tell us we are in an employment boom, although I can’t say I’m convinced as an entrepreneur. We recently celebrated six years in business and it was our intention to be sticking around for the long term. We realized in Peterborough, a very industrial area that to attract new creative marketers and hungry sales people, we needed a workplace to match although I should mention as a footnote that we are directly opposite Peterborough Power Station. You can’t get it all right.