Why we're leaving our office behind

The brightec office in Brighton

How is it possible that after five years in Vantage Point, we’re leaving behind a space that reflected our values for so long? I thought I’d take a few moments to explain our thinking and what might be next.

Even as I write this, I can’t quite believe that we’re doing it. We’re packing up all the furniture, equipment and our infamous glass whiteboards and moving out of Brightec Towers, likely never to return.

Where we’ve been

Brightec was birthed in New England House but we grew up in Vantage Point. We took everything we had learned that worked and that hadn’t and applied it to the clean-sheet that was our office on the 7th floor. We developed our brand, refined our processes and created a productive space that reflected who we were, what we did and why we did it. If you are interested, we wrote more about it in our post on creating a productive and collaborative office space.

We loved it as we created a space that we all enjoyed working in but after four years we had started to wonder if our time on New England Road was coming to an end. Well before Covid-19, we had come to realise that while the office was beautiful and productive on the inside, the outside was almost the direct opposite. The area is suffering from neglect and while plans are in the pipeline to update this and many surrounding buildings, there are no firm timelines in place. We had started to consider whether to move on to find something that fitted our needs more and reflected our brand but hadn’t got much further than thinking. Then came Covid-19…

Where we are now

I suspect we were more prepared for Covid-19 and the associated lockdown than many. We saw it coming, had plans in place and were able to move to fully remote working before the lockdown was initiated. We had been working remotely one day per week almost since Brightec started, so we were well placed to individually work from home. We had to adjust the way we managed projects, but we quickly fell into a new weekly cadence and remained as productive as we were previously. Check out our post on, 'How I'm adapting to manage a remote team'.

As the weeks have moved into months, we’re continuing to evolve and adjust to the changing climate and the pressures and challenges that have resulted from it. We’ve worked with our clients to change how we communicate, plan and kickstart new work.

So here we are, like many now a fully remote team. This is something that I specifically wrote against in a blog post from June 2018.

“I want to put my neck out and say that I don't believe it is [remote work] the right model for most companies”

So has my opinion changed? In essence no, but in practice yes. I still firmly believe that a fully remote team is not the correct model for most companies. Yes we can make it work, we can be productive and we can even grow our companies, but for the reasons outlined in the previous post, Flexible Working is a far more appealing and sustainable model for the vast majority of companies and something we aspire to return to.

Where we will be

So why are we leaving our office? Simply put, we believe that when we emerge from the storm that is Covid-19, when the dust settles and we’re able to return to working together in a single place, our own personal preference and the Brightec company culture will have moved on to such a degree that we will be looking for something completely different.

As a team, we’ve all adjusted to working at home. For some, it is easier and for others, it is much harder, but we have all adjusted. Even now when we surveyed the team, people’s expectations had changed, how much more will this have evolved and been cemented in 6-12 months time? At the moment our best guess is that we will be looking for something that we can use a couple of days a week to gather the whole team and then options on hotdesking for those that can’t work effectively from home. We’ll still want it to feel like Brightec, to reflect our values and be something we can be proud of, but it is unlikely we will need it 4 or 5 days per week as previously. We will also want to take stock, check where our values and culture have moved on to and find a location that suits this new-look Brightec.

So there it is, Brightec are moving! We’ll use the next 6-12 months to shape us for the “new normal” and we’ll emerge into a new permanent location at the end of it different, but stronger. If New England House was where we were birthed, Vantage Point was where we grew up, then this season of working from home is our teenage years before we move into adulthood at the end of all of this. We’ll continue talking about this and let you know when we find our new home.

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