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Caroline Hamilton

by Caroline Hamilton / Commercial Manager

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1st Nov 2022

Recent years have seen a dramatic shift in the way businesses work. Where employees used to have their own desk, commute to the office daily and work fixed hours – the reality now is very different. We instead see most businesses adopting a hybrid way of working.

Some may argue that this shift was inevitable, but there is no doubt that the pandemic accelerated the trend. The team at Origin have noticed that most, if not all, businesses based in the space have adopted the hybrid approach: a blend of both in-office and remote working.

In response to this change, we decided to alter our original membership plans and introduced a higher level of flexibility. Now, businesses can purchase a set number of desks and use them interchangeably. This is perfect for teams that embrace hybrid working.

TMW joined the space almost a year ago after realising that, like many other businesses, they simply did not need their vast office space anymore. Instead, they now occupy a large office within our coworking space and employees are given the freedom to decide when they would like to come into the office or work from home.

We recently caught up with Sarah Bryers, Director of Live Experiences and Business Operations at TMW, to discuss why her team decided to move to Origin and adopt a hybrid working model.

TMW’s set-up before going hybrid

TMW Unlimited is an integrated creative agency with offices based in London, Reading and Bristol. They have clients all across the world, including the likes of Unilever, Coca-Cola and Microsoft.

Prior to Origin, TMW occupied an 11,000 square foot building. This space was big enough to situate all of their workers, every day – as well as fitting out meeting rooms and breakout spaces.

Their day-to-day work life was very different. A lot of hours were spent travelling to meet clients all around the country with no meetings held virtually. As the pandemic caused the world to come to a grinding halt, this quickly changed. The team realised that this way of working was no longer practical and, quite frankly, desired.

With a stroke of good timing, TMW’s lease ran out on their building in the midst of COVID-19. The decision was made to switch to downsize and explore suitable options for coworking spaces.

“Covid happened, we went into lockdown and our ten-year lease was ending. It ended up being a silver lining as it gave us a very clear opportunity to reconsider our options,” confirmed Sarah.

Choosing Origin was a “no-brainer”

Like many of our other members, it was our high-quality facilities that were a major selling point for Sarah. After exploring different options for coworking space local to Bristol, she quickly decided that Origin was the right place for her team.

“I’d done the initial scouting for spaces and I very deliberately showed my colleague Origin last. I already had a sense it was a place where we could belong.

“I remember discussing our options on the terrace. Origin ticked so many boxes for us and importantly gave us plenty of flexibility at a very uncertain time. It was almost a ‘no-brainer’ for us to choose Origin over a more traditional lease,” she said.

Actions speak louder than words and, since joining us, TMW has taken advantage of the facilities available. For instance, they recently hosted a free event, South by Southwest, in our presentation suite. As part of their package with us they also have their own dedicated meeting room space which they use on a regular basis.

Sarah also notes that the team at TMW also take advantage of the multitude of other facilities available: including the bike shed, on-site gym, yoga sessions with Hebe and the roof terrace for social activities and basking in the sunshine.

“It’s really nice to tell people where we work”

Inviting people into their workspace is a regular occurrence for businesses, particularly for a larger company with several national branches like TMW. Whether it’s for interviews or client visits, Sarah said that she feels at ease when meeting guests within the space.

“It’s really nice to tell people where we work, we say it with pride. People know Origin – there’s definitely a recognition.

“When it comes to recruitment, it really helps. People are looking for more from employers, and Origin delivers that.”

Dealing with privacy and security concerns

One of the drawbacks people may find with coworking spaces is the lack of security. Filled with glass walls and open space, it’s only natural that this can be a concern with people viewing our space.

However, we’ve come up with practical solutions: among this includes offering glazing on glass walls and private WiFi options. Onboarding these extra precautions has allowed TMW to maintain their ISO security accreditations.

Sarah also finds that using the other areas of space around the building is also great for when staff members want a bit of time away from the office, such as for a one-to-one or a personal call.

“If you need a secure and quiet space for private one-to-one meetings with employees or to host an important client meeting, that’s what the ground floor meeting rooms are great for,” she said.

The perks of a hybrid system

TMW is not alone in adopting a hybrid approach. As stated previously, many businesses decided to make this switch in the repercussions of the pandemic.

But how have TMW found this transition, and what benefits did it bring?

“In general, the contractual hours for people remain based around a nine-to-five working day. But the pandemic has put greater emphasis on trust and flexibility. If people need to adjust the times they are working during the day, that’s fine as long as we get the job done. We have lots of working parents that might have to accommodate school runs, for example.

“I’m a working parent myself and the flexibility of hybrid working has been so helpful. You might go and do the nursery run, but there’s absolute trust that the day’s tasks and outputs will be completed”.

Feeling part of a community

Sharing a working space with other businesses can often feel strange for those used to having their own office building. However, at Origin we believe that this enables a strong community of collaboration and support. This is something that Sarah also recognises.

“We really value the community aspects and this was a key consideration in choosing Origin. Being part of a wider community is so important when hybrid working naturally leads to fewer employees being in the office at the same time,” she said. 

Our Community Hosts and wider Origin team also help to facilitate an environment that encourages collaboration. Sarah notes that this hospitality is “a great benefit on top” that “you can’t really put a price on”.

Aligning values

Not only do we prioritise helping businesses succeed and cultivating a collaborative culture, Origin also maintains certain values: these include limiting our environmental impact and supporting Bristol’s local charities.

Sarah said these values are also important for TMW, adding that many of the company’s environmental initiatives were “driven from the ground up” by employees who want to be part of an organisation that is aligned with contributing to a better society and environment. 

The team aren’t the only ones who see this as vital – clients also often demand environmental responsibility.

“I can’t remember the last time I saw a tender document that didn’t include sustainability credentials,” Sarah said.

Furthermore, TMW are also proactive in volunteering and helping local charities.

“This is something we’ve discussed quite a bit. Everyone is entitled to a volunteering day each year, but it’s often hard to find something that’s easy to support. We’ve been building a relationship with Mind Bristol and are helping them with a range of initiatives from clearing out their old office to providing pro-bono services in the marketing space.”

Are you looking to downsize your office space and move into a collaborative coworking space? Find out more about our membership options here or contact us directly to book a time to come and view the space.

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