How it feels to work from an award-winning studio

Josh, Steve, Annie and Simon at the awards ceremony

We are so proud that our new studio has been awarded Best Working Environment (Silver) in the UK Company Culture Awards.

We have spent the last two years creating a studio that works for who our team is now, and how we want to work. Receiving the Silver award for the Best Working Environment feels like an amazing recognition of the work we put into making sure this new studio acknowledges how the focus of office working has shifted from needing to be a place to do deep work, to a space of collaborative work; a happy, connected, people-first space. We’re proud to have achieved this on a carefully planned budget with an approach that allows continuous improvement as we softly adapt the space as we use it and learn/understand our needs further.

Following the news, our Director, Josh, commented: 'I am incredibly proud that we have been awarded silver for best working environment. It's a testament to the diligent rigor we have given to improving our working spaces over the last decade. Everyone on the team has refined what we've learned to create a genuinely fantastic studio.

I'm impressed that we could shine against other projects with much higher budgets and design agencies involved.

This award personally means a lot to me as I had the privilege of implementing many of our design ideas to build many of the standout elements of the studio.'

Brightec and the 3 working spaces

In the last 3 years, we’ve known a space that was too lonely (fully remote) and too busy (co-working space hire) but this space feels just right.

Before embarking on the mammoth, and potentially risky, task of finding a new work space, we conducted surveys across the team to monitor what individuals needed. This feedback helped us understand how connected the team felt to Brightec, their work and the team - and informed decisions for progressing the business.

Whilst we were fully remote, our surveys showed that the majority of the team would prefer to work 2 days a week from a studio. Previous experience taught us that you need a good number of people present to create the right atmosphere and serve the purpose. When we moved into Riverside in July 2022, we assigned studio work days based on projects and functions to ensure this is achieved; promoting friendship, community and productivity.

Judges at the UK Company Culture Awards commented; ‘ Good planning and solution to hybrid working; good to see staff were consulted and ideas taken on board for studio design’.

We believe flexible working is far superior to remote working but we’ve had to work hard to balance an open plan space (which encourages freedom and creativity) with dedicated areas where meetings can happen undisrupted.

The goal

We wanted to create a space which enabled easier, informal conversation across the company. Our team wanted to reduce video-only meetings, enable friendship-building across the team and increase collaboration and creativity in all aspects of the business.

Whilst the above are important, we were also keen to develop stronger relationships through a space to host and increase the fun too! MD, Andy commented: ‘The joy of work is that we create somewhere people are happy to work in. Perhaps even because of who you are working with. Even if the client is challenging it should still be an enjoyable place to work.’

Just 10 minutes from the sea, the space has encouraged our team to take meetings outside; coaching walks along the beach, mentoring chats by the river and lunchtime swims or after-work paddle boarding have lifted our spirits on more than one occasion.

The outside space has enabled us to BBQ breakfast and lunches on R&D days, as well as host clients, friends and family for a beer and hot dog after work, strengthening relationships across the business.

We can host and work well here; from the outside space, open plan studio and custom-made Hexagonal Tables in the kitchen which fit together to eat breakfast on Mondays as a team. We built coffee-bar style work spaces as well as meeting rooms and dedicated desks, cosier window seats (which also provide functional storage to keep bags and laptop cases out of sight) so there is space for all purposes and moods.

We love that staff use this space over weekends and Christmas holidays to meet others in the team and their families. The carpet tiles unintentionally lend themselves to children leaping over ‘stepping stones and escaping sharks’ while the foldable partition wall allows parents to take advantage of our new coffee machine in peace.

Collective Responsibility

Brightec’s studio was designed specifically for our team’s needs with an approach that encourages the right people to be co-located and individuals to enjoy hybrid working. We’ve created a studio which benefits the business and serves the people in it. By the nature in which it was created, our studio serves as a space which enables us to be a great agency to work for.

We did the vast majority of the work ourselves; Josh project managed and built much of the studio himself and the whole team was involved in moving out of the old office, building furniture and getting the space ready to work in. We call this ‘Collective Responsibility’; one of our core company values.

Progressively Driven, we believe it's important not to settle for OK. We have continued to build incrementally to make sure we were getting it right for the needs of the team, and within our budgets. The latest addition of a new meeting room has just been built at the end of January 2023; 7 months after we fully moved into the studio.

Judges commented: ‘A great example of really creating a space that is suited for you and your team, particularly demonstrated by the slower scale development that continued after moving in to allow for testing and confirmation you were doing the right thing.’

Head of Product, Jotham, commented; ‘When I walk into the studio, I feel simultaneously peaceful and productive. It is perfectly suited to how I’d like to work; the right combination of focus areas vs ease to collaborate and connect with others. My wife and three kids are all at home in the daytime, so after a couple of years working fully remote I had exhausted my working from home capacity. Now I’m working from the studio, I am a better team member at Brightec and a better husband/dad at home.’

We’re incredibly proud of the studio we have created and delighted to have won this award.

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