Tom Ruck, Operation Manager at Cero Generation, shares his feedback on their recent office relocation and design journey
Why was it important to improve your workplace for your business? What wasn’t working about your previous space?
I joined the team at the tail-end of the pandemic, and we’ve been expending a significant effort as a business on getting the balance right between flexibility in working arrangements and in-person team-and-culture-building, which is extra important since we’re still so new as a company. Our previous space wasn’t suitable for us in size or layout, and wasn’t aligned with our growth ambitions. Having an enjoyable, aesthetic and spacious work environment is a strong leading indicator for employee engagement, and so I was quickly tasked with finding us headquarters appropriate for a leading European renewables platform. Might have even been on day one, in fact!
What were your primary goals and ambitions when embarking on this journey?
We wanted to create a beautiful work environment which would facilitate interpersonal and team connections and make it a destination office. This meant it needed to be warm, inviting and modern. And it needed to reflect our mission – to deliver a net zero future – so sustainability credentials were very high on the list as well.
How did you engage your employees in this process?
Once we had completed the location search, it was all about regular communications with the team to keep them engaged with what we were doing. During the fit-out process for example, I’d come to site once a week and from there share back progress photos of the team to build buzz around it. As we were onboarding new employees, we built in a whole section of the first day induction dedicated to the new office. I ran a couple of Teams presentations dedicated to the move and just continued to talk about it as much as possible to keep that momentum going.
What impact has the new space had on the day-to-day runnings of your business?
I am not prone to hyperbole, but it has been a game-changer for us. People are keen to be in the office, just as we had hoped. We have space to move without tripping over each other, and to host our European colleagues when they come to London. We can welcome guests to the office and feel proud of our space. It’s also really attractive to prospective new employees as well – it shows we are serious about who we are and what our mission is.
How have your employees responded to the new space (Any positive feedback you have had? Have attendance levels improved? Has there been a positive impact on employee happiness/collaboration and wellbeing?)
It’s been universally positive feedback since we moved in. The team love coming in here. You can never underestimate the positive power of breakout space, natural light, plants and amazing skyline views on wellbeing. I feel very proud to be able to come and work here and know that I was a driving force in its delivery.
What advice or recommendations would you give other businesses considering an office move/fit-out?
It’s never too early to start looking – give yourself plenty of time. Pick a great agent and fit-out team. Invest in a strong broadband connection as early in the process as you can. Don’t be afraid to put a bit of your personality in there if you can – introduce some colour and some warmth – it is, after all, an environment for people to enjoy! And communicate regularly to your team to get them invested in it – they are your final client at the end of the process, and you want them to be happy with the final result.
How was your overall experience working with DeVono and Dthree? Any particular highlights worth mentioning?
Of all the agents we met with, we chose Devono because we felt they offered a more holistic, more personal approach to our search. Ben immediately understood the briefing – and in fact I think HYLO was the first place we saw with him… he set the bar very high from the start! The team’s engagement and support throughout the search (which pivoted several times) were consistently high, and their guidance and support on the commercial negotiation were pragmatic and refreshingly straightforward, ensuring that we secured the best possible terms in a timely manner. We’d have no hesitation with recommending Devono as a search partner.
With Dthree, it’s a similar story. When we first met Ben and Jess, we were immediately impressed with how quickly they understood the briefing and got on with it. I’m still amazed that the first GA plan they sent us at the start of the process remained largely unchanged up until the end – which shows how great they were from the start. The whole team at D3 were super responsive to any changes or tweaks we had to send their way (of which there were several), and we really felt listened to and understood as we moved forward. And then being able to come to site on a weekly basis and work with Harry and his team and see the office take shape in front of my eyes was really fantastic. We had a very short turnaround time once the works had started, and I really appreciated the hard work, flexibility and communications from their side. Frankly, we couldn’t have done it without them.