'The office is designed to encourage flexibility'

By Mark Cridge and Mark Creighton, campaignlive.co.uk, Thursday, 16 June 2011 12:01AM

Moving all your businesses into a swanky new office isn't just about bars and beehives, two agency chiefs say. It's about bringing staff together and creating a buzz.

MARK CRIDGE, GLOBAL MANAGING DIRECTOR, ISOBAR

- Where have you moved to and why?

Aegis Media moved Vizeum, Glue Isobar, iProspect and Marvellous into its new office overlooking Regent's Park at 10 Triton Street at the end of April. Aegis Media Global moved at the end of May and Carat and Aegis Group plc will follow in June and July. The decision to bring all our agency brands together under one roof is about continuing to demonstrate our commitment to offering the best service to clients, as they increasingly seek specialised media, creative and marketing solutions. It is also a fantastic opportunity for everyone in the agencies to get to know and learn from each other.

- Tell us about some of the features of the new office.

One of the best features is the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Regent's Park, and the London skyline is a stunning backdrop to our fresh office environment. Each floor, meanwhile, has been designed to reflect the unique agency brands. 10 Triton Street is also the first agency office building to make a commitment to biodiversity in an urban environment; there are four beehives on the green roof, which will provide honey for the cafe and support dwindling bee stocks in Regent's Park.

- What do you think are its advantages?

The new office is an innovative workspace that embodies the network's open and collaborative way of working. Each floor has its own distinct brand personality and being in one building is already creating fantastic opportunities to work together on campaigns, making the most of the combined media, digital excellence and sharing of creative ideas and talent within the group.

- And what are the disadvantages?

While some staff might be having to adjust to a slightly longer commute, the response to the new office has been overwhelmingly positive. Being in central London is a huge advantage for staff and clients alike, as is being so close to the green spaces of Regent's Park. The new office is a world away from the offices the Aegis network agencies previously inhabited - scattered the length of London, from Shoreditch to Holborn.

- How is client confidentiality maintained?

As to be expected, there are official and comprehensive procedural confidentiality policies in place. These are strictly adhered to by all the agencies in the network to ensure there are no client conflict issues. Specifically, with Vizeum and Carat in the same building, the two agencies will continue to operate separately, even extending to separate entrances to the main building.

- Is it making you work in a different way and, if so, how?

The format of the office has been designed specifically to encourage fresh ways of flexible working. There is less fixed desking, for example, designed to encourage colleagues to move around and learn from others within their agency. All in all, it's a massive step-up for all of us as we continue to realise our individual ambitions.

MARK CREIGHTON, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, MINDSHARE

- Where have you moved to and why?

Central St Giles - the difficult-to-miss, large green and orange glass building off Shaftesbury Avenue. We have the seventh and eighth floors as our UK and worldwide headquarters. Having changed the structure of our business to respond to the changing dynamics of a media agency, we wanted to find a space that enabled the sharing and collaboration between specialists that will make Mindshare's business even more valuable to its clients.

- Tell us about some of the features of the new office.

It's wonderfully light, modern and very spacious, and we have fantastic 360-degree views of London. Our space has been specifically designed to provide a variety of working environments to suit the different roles that people play within our business and for our clients. With an activity-based approach to working, people can choose to sit anywhere in the agency to work with those colleagues most relevant to the client challenge. We also have plenty of informal break-out spaces where teams can come together to discuss and brainstorm ideas. Our fantastic cafe and bar area is a signature feature where colleagues, clients and partners can come together for food or drink and enjoy our fantastic roof terrace overlooking London.

- What do you think are its advantages?

It has provided a fantastic opportunity to put our philosophy and principles about the role of a media agency in the changing communications landscape into practice. We believe it will foster the innovation and original thinking that defines us and separates us from the competition.

- And what are the disadvantages?

When you want to change the way you work, not just where you work, your people quite rightly challenge how and why things will be better. I think we worked very hard in advance of our move to try to answer these questions, but I'm sure there will still be some people questioning the value of change and it will be up to us as leaders to demonstrate the difference it is making to our business.

- How is client confidentiality maintained?

Clearly, security is an important requirement in any new space, especially when you want to create a more open working environment. Our compliance is of the highest ISO certification - ISO27001 - and we take security and confidentiality very seriously in terms of data, systems and the people who lead our client relationships. The key distinction is in ensuring that both emerging and best practice continues to be shared between colleagues in a way that doesn't breach confidentiality, but enables our clients to see the benefit from a physical space that enhances the value of collaboration across Mindshare.

- Is it making you work in a different way and, if so, how?

The physical space definitely encourages a more nimble way of working, leading to the more fluid exchange of ideas. It's hard to achieve the banter and buzz around an office when your team is physically divided by too many walls or laid out across too many floors, as we were in our offices at The Strand. Thankfully, that buzz is back and I'm genuinely feeling a sense of team spirit.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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