Frankie Healy: A digital agency still needs a collaborative work space
Digital agency director Frankie Healy reveals why his business and others won’t be ditching their office spaces post-pandemic.
My digital agency turns five years old this month and I am proud of everything we have achieved in half a decade. Little did I think we would be faced with operating in a global pandemic, nor would I have predicted that we could significantly grow the business in such an unprecedented and challenging time.
We have carved out a specific market for ourselves in the form of the car leasing industry. Here we identified a gap in the market to allow brokers to advertise their services on an easy-to-use platform. We now have close to 60 brokers signed up to our platform and in the space of a year we have captured around 10% of the market. If we continue along our current growth trajectory we will inevitably consider taking on new staff.
We have found that throughout the pandemic, businesses across a range of sectors are turning to digital agencies to try to seamlessly digitise many of their products and services.
Central to our success has been our decision in 2019 to move to a modern office space in Clyde Gateway that facilitates our collaborative working. In my view, if every member of the team is based remotely, you tend to miss out on significant moments of inspiration, so-called ‘golden nuggets’. Sitting together, albeit socially-distanced, is the best way to create new ideas and solve existing problems.
The global design consultancy WSP goes further by advising that there is “much that we can learn from this lockdown period to make the workplace better and our interactions with it more effective”. They also predict that as countries and regions come out of their respective lockdowns, “…businesses will have to provide safe working environments that increase the feelgood factor and ultimately raise productivity and creativity.”
Our original shared office space in a small town was great for getting the business up and running, but by the time it came for us to expand we needed somewhere with suitable facilities in close proximity to Glasgow city centre.
As a growing business, the Grade A Magenta office park in Clyde Gateway provides us with excellent value for money, state-of-the-art office accommodation and a wealth of collaboration spaces - both indoors and outdoors.
We were just one of many businesses that moved to the area after Police Scotland relocated more than 1,000 of their administrative, finance, and IT staff here and the area’s transformation is clear to see.
Surrounding the Magenta office park, there are excellent green spaces all around us that help the staffs’ wellbeing and creative thinking. There are a cluster of amenities in and around Richmond Park and Glasgow Green, and jointly, these two parks provide a ‘Green corridor’ which connects the building to the city centre.
I agree wholeheartedly with KPMG UK who say they “don’t believe [the pandemic] signals the end of the road for offices”. Their Real Estate in the New Reality report highlights concerns “around the ability of businesses to encourage collaboration, coaching and innovation while working from home, not to mention the human need for social interaction”.
As a digital agency, we were well placed to make the quick transition to the home-based working that was enforced upon office workers and, in truth, we could easily remain a business that operates entirely remotely. However, if we are to maintain our present growth trajectory then it is essential for our team to return to some degree of face-to-face interaction.
- Frankie Healy is director of digital agency FIRE5 Digital