When you want to grow your business, growing your office space along with it comes as standard. Whether you are expanding your business in one location or looking to move into additional cities and regions, it’s important to make sure that you have quality workspace for your employees, regardless of where they are based. With offices in Leeds, Manchester and London, we spoke to Managing Director of Network Marketing, Jonathan Hirst.
Jonathan established Network Marketing back in 1996 and is now responsible for leading culture across the company, looking for new business opportunity and recruiting new talent. “I make sure the culture is consistent across office; I go to each office every week to make sure we’re sharing information, ideas and knowledge as much as we can do,” says Jonathan.
Network Marketing first took space with Bruntwood around 14 years ago in our West One building in Leeds, and the company are still there to this day. Location was critical for the team, as they have to be able to get in and out of town quickly and easily for meetings with clients and candidates. “We moved from bang in the city centre to just onto the outskirts,” explains Jonathan. “You can get onto the ring road and the motorway quickly; and you can basically go north east south or west from there.”
Over in Manchester, the team first expanded into serviced space at 111 Piccadilly. “One of our guys moved over to Manchester for personal reasons so he needed small flexible place to start off with,” says Jonathan. “We just needed a two person office and obviously buying or renting something like that doesn’t make sense; you just want it to be flexible because the plan was always to grow.” Having this space meant that Jonathan was able to come to the Manchester office at any time, and being right outside Piccadilly station, was able to walk straight out of the train station and into the office. Not forgetting to pick up his morning caffeine fix on the way past the coffee shop.
It was when the Manchester team had grown to eight people that they then moved to our flagship building Neo, when it first opened two years ago. “We looked at Neo way before it was finished, and walked into site with hard hats and safety gloves,” says Jonathan. “It’s quite amazing how it’s all turned out; it’s beyond our wildest dreams how great the space and the working environment is.”
Being based across three different locations is key for the business when it comes to their client and candidate base. “If you want to have a successful business like ours then it needs be based in Manchester if you want to recruit Mancunians; in Leeds if you want to recruit people from Leeds; and in London if you want to recruit Londoners,” explains Jonathan. “I have no doubt that if we didn’t employ people who are proud of where they are from, then our business wouldn’t be as strong as it is now.”
Advancements in technology have also meant that working across locations is made easier for the whole business. “We have video conferencing and spider phones in all of our offices now. Getting 100MB straight into our office means there’s never any issue with connectivity here and that makes a big difference,” says Jonathan.
The different space on offer within their buildings is also important to the business. With outdoor space for parties, on site showers for the post-midday gym session, meeting rooms of all different styles available on site, all give massive benefit to the business and its people. The communities within the buildings are also a great plus point. “Our guys are really interested and involved in the community events,” explains Jonathan. “We’re looking at organising our own charity quiz night for people in the building raising funds for fresh water wells in India and Africa.”
The most important thing to the business though, is that they match the culture around the three offices. “It’s important that people do work and get to know people in the other offices,” says Jonathan. “It’s also critical because we often have clients in all three locations, and they may be talking to us about briefs in London, but also have briefs in Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham. So our guys need to be talking about those types of businesses and how best to work with them on a national basis, but also be able to work with them locally.”
The intention has always been to grow Network Marketing, and Jonathan is hoping that they will have outgrown their space by the end of this year. “We didn’t realise was how usable the shared space [at Neo] would be, so we have a lot of meetings down here instead of in our own meeting rooms upstairs,” says Jonathan. This means the team will be able to make room for more desks in the future, but they hope to well exceed the potential that is available.
This is where being able to anticipate your next move is vital, and knowing where there is more space available. “With Bruntwood, we know where to turn to when we grow,” explains Jonathan. “We know what [the office space] is going to be like, we know it’s always going to be high quality, we know the people that are working there are always going to be good and that there will be a community there. So a lot of the hassle is taken away.”
Jonathan believes the company has hit a “sweet spot”. With around 30 people working for the company at the moment, they are glad to be making everyone a part of the team and culture, but there’s big opportunities for them to grow further. “In the next five years we’ll see more growth, driven around high quality people and the people who are currently with us taking the opportunities that are there for them,” says Jonathan.
So what’s next for the working environment for Network Marketing? Everyone is expecting office space that is greener, softer, that has more variance to it. The team is looking at a renovation project in Leeds that will make the space work better for their employees, as well as their clients and candidates. “In terms of the business, it’s fundamentally just driven around people. We’re actively recruiting people in Manchester, Leeds and London and we’ve got great opportunities for them but we can only grow if we can find the right people,” says Jonathan.