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  • Meet Our Office Move Team

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  • On the verge of a major office move and re-design, we’re experiencing many of the same challenges our clients do. Introducing our latest clients – us.

    Office moves are monumental, but if you start the process the moment you think you’re changing spaces, they get a lot easier. This is our second office move at Oktra, and while we may be experts in creating workspaces, we still face many of the same obstacles our clients do. So, we thought we’d document our experience. We’ll be bringing you our office move journey in three phases – listen, design and build – giving you the opportunity to follow our story each step of the way.

    We started with the listening phase and we’ve been listening to internal feedback for a while now – after all, the first step to creating a really great brief is fully understanding your client.

    Meet our office move team, Pete, Nic and Lorna, who all play crucial roles in our moving process. We sat down to ask them some questions about their experiences so far and this is what they said:

  • Pete Dalzell, Chief Executive Officer

    Pete’s primary focus is on optimising the company’s performance and driving sustained growth. As a former FTSE 250 managing director, he has a wealth of experience managing market-leading organisations.

  • Pete Dalzell, Chief Executive Officer at Oktra
  • Q: Who’s been involved in the office move process so far?
    A: “I think a better question would be ‘who hasn’t been involved in the office move?’ We have put a process in place to make sure that everybody who wants to add value to the process gets to have a say, whether it’s through a diary room, through a formal one-to-one interview or through workshops. So, I think pretty much everyone – it’s an all-encompassing process.”

    Q: What has been the most challenging aspect to date?
    A: “So, I think the overall design feel of the office, who holds that? Because Nic, our Creative Director, is running the design but he doesn’t want to be the designer, because we’ve got a whole host of very talented young designers and he wants them to all add value. Working out how that’s going to be pulled together, that’s the most challenging conversation I think I’ve heard so far.”

    Q: Why is it important for businesses to invest in their workspace?
    A: “Because it’s an opportunity to establish the environment that accurately portrays the correct operational way of working. So, when you’re trying to grow organisations or change the nature of the way an organisation operates – and for us, it’s a lot about growth and reinvigoration – your new office won’t do that on its own, but it will be one of the catalysts to let that growth happen. I think that’s a real important part of it.”

    Q: What advice do you have for someone in your position who is considering moving office?
    A: “Get involved. Don’t let somebody else do it for you. Be the decision maker and enjoy it – take a load of fun out of it. I’ve never done it before, my role in this is really to be like the client. So, I’m going to ask all the questions because I can and get away with it. And I’m going to have a load of fun doing that – ‘why don’t you do that? Why’s my chair like this? Do I get an office? Do I want an office? Why do we play music? Who chooses the music?’ All that stuff – enjoy it, be challenging but be part of it.”

  • Nic Pryke, Creative Director

    Nic enables our clients to realise their ambitions by challenging and guiding our professional teams to strive for design excellence. He understands the value of workplace design and its impact on people’s lives, providing insight as to how design influences behaviour and enables cultural shifts that benefit organisations.

  • Nic Pryke, Creative Director at Oktra
  • Q: How did we start the moving process? What was the first thing we did?
    A: “With this one we thought ‘let’s open it up and do it properly like we do with our clients.’ So, we decided to have three stages: listen, design and build. And we’re listening up until the end of September. We decided we’d tell the story too, so we started to do something totally different which was to go and experience other places people work which aren’t offices.”

    Q: What’s next on your move-related to-do list?
    A: “There are two things on my mind for the move. I did a kind of town hall meeting to kick the move off. And in about two weeks we’re going to do that again. I want to have new information and another strong message with everybody here, so I’m thinking about what that’s going to look like. I’m thinking it might be good to do it in the new space. And I think probably the content for that will be the outcome of the listening phase, because lots of people have been involved in it in different ways. So that’s my next focus.

    We’re also starting to get information back from the listening phase. We’ve done three out of four workshops, done a lot of interviews now, we’re very shortly going to be putting out an online survey to everybody. The idea of the listening period is you end up at the end of it with a brief. And that brief is an interpretation of all the stuff we’re getting, and that’s starting to come together.”

    Q: What are your current pain points? How have they changed?
    A: “Well, I don’t have a lot – except that I know as soon as you start to make decisions that reduce possibilities, you start to get resistance from people. So, I’m not particularly looking forward to that. We know from working with our clients, actually the most successful jobs are the ones where you have someone at the top who goes ‘I hear what everyone’s saying, but this is what we’re going to do.’”

    Q: What advice do you have for someone in your position who is considering moving office?
    A: “Well, my main advice would be to think really hard about the people involved and taking them on some sort of staff engagement, changing management journey, running alongside the new office project. Because you can assemble a really good team, design an office, build it, and it might be really, really good, but unless you’ve taken all the hearts and minds of the people with you, they won’t use it how it’s been designed. More or less every time someone moves to a new office, they improve stuff and make it better, but it necessitates people changing the way they work, and people don’t like change.”

  • Lorna Killick, Head of People and Workplaces

    Lorna heads up the company’s HR, IT and administrative functions. With over a decade of experience, she brings seamless business support from a high-level perspective. This is Lorna’s sixth office move during her career, adding to her first-hand understanding of our clients’ experiences.

  • Lorna Killick, Head of People and Workplaces at Oktra
  • Q: Has anything cropped up that you hadn’t considered?
    A: “Obviously, we’re very early stages in our moving process so the crop-ups would be later on. We’re only in the data collection stages at the moment, so we’re not doing anything logistical. We’re not doing our fit out yet, that won’t start until January, so things that have cropped up… nothing really because it’s too early.”

    Q: What should someone do before they select an agent?
    A: “If I was doing it off the back of knowing nothing about agents, then I guess it would be about doing a tender process, finding some that you like the look of, meeting with them, taking quotes because they have different ways of charging you; some people might do a flat rate, some people might do a percentage of your rent. But I guess important things to look for would be the price and the relationship – someone that you trust is really important. So, tender process first for costs but also meeting them a couple of times to build confidence that they’re going to do a good job for you.”

    Q: Why is it important to consider working with a dilapidations consultant?
    A: “So, at the moment we’re working in tandem, and have been for a few months, on doing the new building stuff but also working on putting together a proposal for our dilapidations. What it’s best to do, if you have the ability to, is to either get a consultant or somebody else that’s in the know to work with you to get your own quote. Then you’re setting the bench mark for the negotiations rather than the landlord sending you a bill. Also, if someone is interested in taking the space as it is, you can use that as a negotiation point with the landlord. Time really is of the essence, the earlier that you can start these things the better. So as soon as you know that you’re going to be moving office, start then. Don’t wait.”

    Q: What advice do you have for someone in your position who is considering moving office?
    A: “Look at everything – don’t discount anything. If you’re too narrow in your search to start with, you might miss things that maybe weren’t quite 100% your preference but could be good. Forget what you think you want, go and look at all sorts. We looked at warehouse space, we looked at super high-end city space, we went to Old Street, Holborn, West End, London Bridge – we did the lot. We ended up around the corner from where we are now, which is kind of what we knew we always wanted, but it just confirmed that to us.

    So, do that, and also make some good relationships with key consultants. Find the people that are trustworthy, that are going to work well with you, that you feel like you can work with for a year maybe, because that would be the reality of it. And the people that are going to support you and fill the gaps in your knowledge because an office move is a massive project to do, and it effects a lot of people – you’ve got to get it right. And have everything covered.”

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