Space to work

Bean bags, breakout rooms and baristas have all come and gone. The DBA’s John Scarrott looks at what’s important to creative businesses about their place of work today.

IC Design's office
IC Design’s office

IC Design has been going for 15 years and has 6 full time staff. They last moved offices 3 years ago. Their MD, Alex Haddon describes their studio space, why it is much more than just a place to come to each day and why she believes culturally it’s good to move offices regularly.

Keep on moving

Moving offices is rejuvenating. It’s refreshing to be able to assess everything you have and decide what you do and don’t need. It’s an opportunity to force change. Our deliberate strategy is to move every 5 years and it’s started to feel like a natural cycle to seek something different.  One of our goals as a business is to continue to become stronger and better at what we do. The majority of our work is created as a team so our space is a vital way to connect us to each other and create the right frame of mind to produce great work.

It’s extremely important to have a space that clients feel good about the moment they arrive. For many business people, design is something of a mystery. This can create a measure of uncertainty. Having a space that is calm and in many ways mirrors their expectations of what an office space looks like puts a client at ease. But retaining an identity is also important to give clients a feeling of who you are.

Take your space as early as possible.

When we first saw our current space [in Hammersmith, west London] it was a real mess. It was about to be refurbished and was going to be completely gutted. Committing to the office on a decent lease gave us a strong hand in being able to say how we wanted it set up. The office arrangement we worked out has since been replicated in other parts of the building.

IC Design's office
IC Design’s office

Create a space that makes it easy to be tidy and organised.

This type of space means there is no need to tidy up when clients drop in unexpectedly (which they do occasionally). More often than not, we proactively invite clients to come to see us, in our space, where we work.  They connect with us better if they come to us and an organised office provides a level of reassurance.

Make sure it contains a proper meeting space.

We had our meeting space built. This gives us a designated space to meet clients rather than at a table in the room. The room is invaluable when we want to have two meetings or work on ideas in separate groups.

Ensure you have proper signage at the main entrance.

This helps to reinforce the impression of being established and independent as a business. It is the first impression of your office and clients want to feel reassured they have arrived at the right place.

Comfort factor

A testament to how our place is received is our Annual Festive Open Studio. People who we’ve worked with will just pop in – they feel comfortable here.  We put this down to the space we’ve created and an easy to find location. A space that puts your clients at ease will get you into their world, which is where we should be.

John Scarrott is membership director at the Design Business Association. His DBA blog, Conversations With, is here.

Latest articles