We’ve pushed ‘go’ on our evolution plan and the pieces are all comfortably falling into place – here’s what we considered when conceptualizing our agency of the future.
Our offices have always been a pretty big deal for us. They’ve been a place of work and play. A home away from home that has seen ideas come to life, people come into their own, huge wins, losses that have really hurt and impromptu parties that won’t easily be forgotten (although there have been a few over the years who may disagree…).
Westminster House was our shop window to the outside world. Moving in, everything mattered – post code, square footage, décor, vibe, even the enviable Herman Miller chairs just visible from reception. Simply put, they’ve been our anchor, our base. Until they weren’t.
Like most other agencies (and businesses), our huge and impressive ‘shop window’ was emptied of the life that was breathed into it on the daily, literally overnight in 2020. Our once-loved base quickly became our ball and chain, anchoring us to the past.
It was time to rethink. But rethinking our office meant rethinking our ways of working, which meant rethinking our model… And what we realised when we were doing all this thinking, was that we needed to be office-free to build our idea of an agency of the future.
And so the ‘negotiations’ began, and after almost 18 months (and I’m not exaggerating here) we have finally been able to surrender our head office lease. Genuinely, I felt like crying tears of joy when our very good, and very expensive (but worth every penny) City lawyer emailed me a couple of weeks ago now to share the good news. Not having to bill £5,000,000 a year simply to cover our (practically unused office) costs feel’s unbelievably liberating. As does not having the distraction of constantly finding creative ways to make the space feel alive these days, when most of the team have chosen to work from home much of the time.
Now change, once again, is upon us. We’ve pushed ‘go’ on the rest of our evolution plan and the pieces are all comfortably falling into place. It’s incredibly rewarding to watch it come together, and it’s given our team a renewed sense of excitement for the business. Because it’s been such a great stimulant for us, I thought I’d share my top tips to building an agency of the future to help anyone wanting to go on the same journey. So, here we go:
- Having a USP matters. And make sure your agency is damn good at whatever you specialise in.
- Never stop evolving, ever. We’ve been walking the talk on Virtual Atoms for a while now (we’ve created more VA campaigns than any other agency globally!), and now we’re getting equally excited about NFTs.
- Work hard at making sure your team feels connected, regardless of where they are in the world. For over a decade now we’ve being a global business, and a few smart initiatives have always made us feel connected and engaged.
- Also, now that the world is opening up, encourage your teams to spend time together as face to face time does matter. For us this is a big team get together in Cape Town soon – hooray!
- When I started Because in the 90s, I was the only foreigner at the table. Being ‘the South African girl’ who ran Because required a lot of guts as I was different. Diversity comes in all shapes and forms, embrace this and work hard at mixing things up a little when it comes to recruitment.
- Yes, there are many things that the British do best, and I’m sure this’ll always be the case. But geography is somewhat irrelevant these days. Our team is based…everywhere…we recruit based purely on talent and cultural fit. Smart people learn another market’s ways very quickly, and a global, diverse team is way more fun and interesting.
- Invest in your team’s wellbeing. Mental health is essential in today’s busy world, so make sure you have initiatives in place to support your people. And don’t talk about WLB if your team is slogging their guts out, instead business leaders need to find solutions to share the workload (and also get into the trenches themselves at times too).
- And yes, you guessed it, choose a co-working space. Business is fluid so you need an agile office solution, offices which work with you instead of offices which dictate your direction of travel. Also being able to afford to do fun things together (like our trip to Cape Town) and share your profits with your people instead of just being fixated on paying your rent each business quarter makes a lot more business sense!
At Because we have a portfolio of clients we cherish, an awesome team and an enviable culture. We no longer want offices which anchor us down. Our new office space is a short stroll from the bustle of Borough Market and London Bridge and has some serious sustainable credentials…and you guessed right…we’ll be in a co-working environment. Meaning it’ll be someone else’s responsibility to make sure there’s vast quantities of milk in the fridge, beer is on tap at the end of a productive day and their office manager can bark at folk to leave a meeting room as they’d ‘expect to find it!’ Instead, we’ll be giving our clients our full attention, creating real connections for them in today’s digital world.