It’s safe to say that the last few months has had us all talking about offices; being in the office, not being in the office, missing the office, the future of the office… the pandemic firmly has #office as a trending topic.
Just before lockdown, and still today, we shut the doors to our wonderful Colmore BID haven to work from home, and a couple of visits back to feed the fish always get me reminiscing about the daily grind that we once took for granted. We’ve always be so proud of our office; the signature blackboard walls, Pinterest-inspired décor and, of course, the over-the-top meeting room fishtank always get people talking.
As we look to a new normal, where everyone is thinking how best to use space, I thought I’d take a look at some of my favour (and most Instagram-worthy) offices.
THE HOME OFFICE
Thankfully, earlier this year, I decided to claim our front bedroom at home as my own dressing-room-come-home-office, and what a perfectly-timed decision that was! Little did I know that I’d be based there for the best part of the year, so I’m glad that I created a space to escape because it’s now where I spend most of my time. Whether you have a room going spare, a converted garage or just a tiny corner of the house, having a space of your own – when you don’t live alone – is definitely a good move if you’re able to do it.
Like most, I spend hours getting lost in Pinterest looking at houses and gardens that I want and can’t have, and one home office that I’m just obsessed with belongs to super-stylish influencer Emma Thatcher aka Emma Rose Style. Based on the ground floor of her stunning house, it boasts the most drool-worthy statement floor and beautiful pink velvet sofa. It’s bright, spacious and girly… and, if I were her, I’d never leave! Pictures don’t do it justice so I highly recommend checking it out, as part of her gorgeous house tour over on IGTV.
THE SHARED OFFICE
Pre-pandemic you’d have to be living under a rock to not have heard of WeWork. Their story goes back to 2010 and they’re now a global player in the shared office space game; taking over buildings new and old to create awesome communities for freelancers, businesses and their teams.
WeWork has opened a few locations in Brum; one, 55 Colmore Row, is just a few metres away from TeamEV’s HQ. I used to walk past every day catching a glimpse of the activity inside; the décor is visually stunning (I’m a sucker for a neon light). Their flexibility is what has made them such a hit, with hotdesking, dedicated desks, and private offices, but it’s the community they create that makes it so special. Free snacks, Friday drinks and even weekly yoga classes get everyone meeting one another and that’s what shared office space should be all about. The ability to work from other WeWork’s around the world is also an added bonus!
THE MID-SIZED OFFICE
Creative agencies are always an inspiration when it comes to office space, and rightly so… you can’t expect people to get their creative juices flowing if they’re stuck in a bland box all day. Although I’d like to think that the EAST VILLAGE. office is full of inspo, I encourage the team to get out as much as possible and see the world… it’s amazing what a coffee in a new location can do to your productivity.
One office that I’ve visited that hit me right in the feels was fellow Brummie business, EASTSIDE CO. Now, maybe it’s the whole EAST-VILLAGE-EASTSIDE-love-of-capital-letters thing, but I walked and it had the instant ‘wow factor’. Based in Digbeth, which has recently got its “cool” back, much to the city’s delight, they’ve definitely nailed that New York-style loft vibe with the statement ceiling beams and monochrome elegance. I also love their attention to detail, with branded mugs and the team wearing t-shirts. This, for me, is the ultimate mid-sized office vibe.
Anyone who follows me on social will know that I’m a big fan of Steven Bartlett and his Social Chain empire. The growth they’ve seen in the past few years, his passion for educating people on doing business well, and the way that he presents ideas just really struck a chord. I highly recommend his ‘Diary of a CEO’ podcast if you haven’t discovered it yet!
When it comes to the ultimate agency office, Social Chain Manchester absolutely has it! As they expanded the team they’ve taken up more space in the original building where they had just two desks in a co-working space. Now, they’ve got what can only be described as a creative playground; social working spaces, chillout rooms, office dogs, and even a slide. Yes, a slide. They worked with The Sheila Bird Group to create an office that you’d never want to leave – take a look at this awesome walk through.
So, here’s a selection of just a few of my favourites, and the theme is all about creating a space – or spaces – that are for more than just sitting at a screen all day. The key to an effective office, for me, is surrounding everyone with inspiration, creativity and a sense of community. Even more important during this pandemic; if we can’t always be together, sit together and touch each other (not in a weird way, I mean touching someone’s arm or something) then we have to work even harder to make our work-life community strong.
I would love to hear what your favourite offices are!