Part 1 – Physical Space
The beauty of building a company from scratch is found across the team. In my area, Operations (I’m COO), we find it really exciting to have the opportunity to mould and shape the business how we want it to run. With some legislative parameters, of course! There are so many things to think about – including things that you will never have thought about until you get to the point you realise you need it. And, at the pace we’re moving, that point is always “now”.
At Upgrade Pack, we wanted to build an office that was creative, inspiring, motivating, and a builder of culture. We wanted to attract the best talent by giving them a cool and equipped office to work in, so they enjoyed their time with us as soon as they walked through our door. That’s everything from how it looks to how it works (banning cables from meeting rooms, and using Apple TV instead, brings a lot of joy).
Our initial starting point was location. We wanted to house our team in an area that was open, green, and serene; which sent us straight to leafy Richmond. Just an eight minute train from Clapham Junction and 15 minutes from Waterloo, with lots of great shops, restaurants, bars, and leisure options. It made absolute sense for us to pick it as our home.
We then had to consider what we did with the office and how we could create the best working space for our people. We knew we wanted something individual and not overly corporate, we wanted the office to feel new and current, and we wanted an inspiring space. As a startup, we’ve kept things cool and lean. But we also focused on making it secure, professional, and enterprise-grade.
Culture was an important consideration, of course. The first and lasting impression people take away with them was front of mind in planning how our physical environment would reflect our ambition, drive, and passion. We knew we wanted an environment that sparked creativity and empowerment; and encouraged collaboration and integration, both on a professional level and personal level.
We needed music. We knew that from the outset. We wanted the office to have a good buzz from Day 1, so we planted Amazon Echos all around the office which – combined with Spotify (which everyone in the team has access to) pump out a soundtrack for the day and fills our space with creative sound. Everyone is a DJ at Upgrade Pack, and we’ve had no squabbles about playlists yet!
We went on to create a number of breakout areas encouraging our employees to take a break and re-energise during the day. Our people can choose from our lovely sofa area, the benches in the kitchen, or one of our four meeting rooms (named after famous Explorers) to take a break. They can take a drink from the fridge, have a coffee from the Nespresso machine, and snack on healthy (or unhealthy!) goodies in the kitchen.
Everything they need, we’ve catered for.