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Our new office and way of working

  • By Paul Spearman
Paul Spearman

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on many changes to the way we work and live. Many of us worked from home for months and interacted virtually with our colleagues. As the co-owner of a business but also as somebody who has always enjoyed working, this has made me reflect on how we work. What do each of us get out of the working day? What is really important? What does a great day look like? What has the experience of working during the pandemic taught us that we can make things better in the future?

Goodbye Beacontree Court

After many conversations with my co-founder Bryan and the wider team at 3chillies, we’ve made some fundamental changes. After fifteen years, we have now moved office, relocating to the centre of Reading.

Previously we were at Beacontree Court, situated to the South of Reading, but a little out of town. Beacontree Court has served us very well, but it was somewhere you had to drive to. It was also very quiet; there wasn’t much to do at lunchtime or after work. In truth it could feel a little isolated at times and certainly wasn’t ideal for younger employees.

Beacontree Court was also starting to look and feel a bit tired. It was tricky for clients to get to us and involved a taxi ride from the station; when they got here after making that effort, I’d find myself apologising for our rather underwhelming office. It was not a place that I felt proud of and we felt rather disconnected from the centre of Reading.

Hello Blade

Our new office is bang smack in the centre of the town in the iconic Blade building. It’s a ten-minute walk from the station and right near all the shops and restaurants. Reading is a very lively place with all the facilities that you’d want access to, but that’s something we’ve never really been able to take advantage of until now. In fact, suddenly it feels like we’re spoilt for choice - where shall we go for lunch today? Although we’re still settling in, it’s interesting how a new premises has felt exciting. And it gives me an opportunity to pick up that all-important coffee on the way to work.

We also have a lot of clients that we visit regularly, many with offices in London. With the links between Reading and London further improved with the advent of the new Elizabeth Line, it means it’s much easier for us to travel back and from client sites. We’re already seeing the number of in-person meetings and workshops starting to rise and our new location means we can more easily spend a morning in Reading and an afternoon in London.

Choosing where you work

There’s been a lot of media focus on “hybrid working” with people working both from home and from the office, and many organisations have formalised this pattern. Here at 3chillies we wanted to give the team the choice of where they work but also ensure that we do come together when we need to, so we best serve our clients.

Currently a member of the 3chillies team can choose to work at home or at the office; it’s up to you, although there will be times when you may need to come in for a meeting or a workshop, or act as a mentor for another member of staff. For example, this week a project team came together to brainstorm ideas for a brand-new client in the financial services sector. The team also then went out to lunch together, which is much easier now we’re back in town.

So far, we’re finding the new working patterns are very effective, allowing people to be where they feel most comfortable or productive, depending on the task at hand, while planning ahead to coordinate when team members do need to be together.

Personally, I love coming into the new office and that’s where you’ll find me each day, but some other team members still prefer to work at home. The point is we have choice. And most people are choosing to do both – coming into the office on some days and saving time by avoiding the commute on other days.

Building for the future

The combination of having a great office in the centre of Reading and allowing people the freedom to work where they like is helping 3chillies build for the future. We have never been busier with client projects and these moves will help us to expand, attracting new team members and starting to bring in younger staff to train and mentor.

Most importantly I think it’s helping all of us to enjoy our day-to-day work and produce better results for our clients. Both as an agency and as individuals, it gives us more overall flexibility and agility to meet ambitious timelines, respond to client needs, and balance the needs of our working and non-working lives.

Come and say hello

Why not come and see our new office for yourself? If you’re in Reading and want to come and say hello, or discuss any potential project, then get in touch.

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