GoCardless on the move: why our new office space matters
By Chloe DormandJun 20182 min read
From campuses Apple Park and Google HQ to open plan start-ups and coworking spaces, working in an office has come a long way since the days of box cubicles and water cooler chat.
Research into working environment, productivity, and wellness has meant that more and more companies are using their office space to reflect and even shape a culture conducive to a happy, healthy workforce.
Earlier this year, GoCardless moved to a new home in Clerkenwell. Senior Facilities Manager, Jackie McRobert, explains: “We quickly outgrew our old office, going from 35 to 160 employees in four years. The challenge we faced was how to foster the trusting and collaborative culture we had worked hard to build, in a space three times the size, over three floors.”
Research shows collaborative spaces in a workplace can increase productivity by 15%. And like many businesses, we think collaboration within teams and across departments is really important to us doing great work.
We’ve designed our new office with that in mind, says Jackie: “The Kitchen was the heart of the old office - and we wanted to keep it that way. Keeping the ground floor as a communal space, means people can socialise over breakfast or sit with colleagues at lunch. This is important as we grow, as it’s a place where you get to know new faces.”
The ‘bleachers’ – tiered rows of benches that also act as the stairwell between the first and ground floor – are a focal point of the GoCardless community, where the whole team gathers for company updates, GoCardless University sessions, town halls and events.
Reflecting our global ambition
Our People and Design teams worked closely with external fit-out company Peldon Rose on the new office design, ensuring it reflects the increasingly global nature of our business. Meeting rooms are named after currencies, and there are clocks set to the different time zones where GoCardless operates, as well as framed photos of interesting places around the world.
Listening to the team
Empowering people to do work they are proud of is an important part of GoCardless culture. And that means trusting people to work how they want to, and understanding that that isn’t always going to be sitting behind a desk.
Research suggests that only 53% of UK employees feel that they have adequate control over their comfort when working. And 48% think that office design has a notable impact on whether or not they choose to stay with an employer.
Office Manager, Meghan Molony explains: “We surveyed the team to find out what our people wanted from the new space - even down to the chairs we sit on. The engineering team, for example, wanted more break out working spaces, and space for stand-up meetings.”
As a result of this research, the GoCardless office has lots of breakout working spaces, tables of different heights, sofas and standing desks.
Research has shown that 35% of office workers don’t feel encouraged to move around during their working day. Active designs in offices have been shown to increase employee satisfaction and reduce stress (stress was responsible for 12.5 million lost working days in 2016/2017).
Bringing the outside in
Bringing in a taste of the outdoors has been found to reduce stress and foster creativity in the workplace - one of the reasons all our team members have their own desk plant, and there are around 40 plants scattered around communal areas.
The GoCardless team is now more than 200, and still growing. ““We have already been responding to feedback from the team, making improvements, and adapting the space,” says Jackie. “It’s an ongoing process - but an exciting one!”