Walls, desks, computer screens, a coffee machine, and a meeting room. The office we interned at has all of these, like most offices. But it seeks to be different and to make work enjoyable. The lifestyle brand is all about its great buzzy community, from its employees, to its collaborators, clients and fans. Kim and Kanye are always watching from the centre of the room – sadly not the real deal, but they’re the office goldfish, so almost as good. They became part of the company when the office’s small meeting room reminded the team of a fishbowl. Behind them is their wall of products which started the brand. Next to that, a wall of fame, with articles about Victoria Beckham’s specially-designed notebook, featuring the faces of all the Beckham family, being covered by the Evening Standard, Hello Magazine, and the Daily Mail, among others. What else? A Wall of Shame, a Wall of Office Ideas (like making a dress for Henry Hoover), a chalk-board of witticisms, and a meme board. You name the type of board, it’s there. On most days, the meme board or chalk-board gained new things. Everyone is involved in ongoing trends and news, and the boards allow members of the team to share comments and opinions or just laugh at new features on the boards. It breaks up the day a bit more and keeps the company seeking out entertaining images.
So, with the mental image of this “office” space, and the aural image of ongoing music chosen and changed at any time by any member of the team (we had Beach Boys, Ed Sheeran and Rihanna, but also a variety of National Anthems …), what’s the effect? Well, it makes the space seem more of a background to ideas and more welcoming of innovative thinking – and of laughter – than other work spaces. Two other great ways the office is made into a lively space are, firstly, that all of the team (it’s a small but growing one), are facing one another on the same table. It makes conversations and idea-throwing much easier, and encompasses multiple people in any entertaining conversation. Secondly, the bell and tambourine, which is welcome to anyone to mark any announcements, group-queries, or achievements with noise. They help make announcements lively and they’re a great mark of celebrating the brand’s achievements and growth.
All of these office-features can be easily taken into any space, which is good because the company is growing quickly. But it’ll still be the fun brand that holds its values and its non-traditional office-life quirks regardless of size. There’s a common misconception that after graduating everyone ‘sells their soul’ to become a small cog in some giant corporate machine, but places like this prove that that is by no means the case. Sure, you get the busy London Tube in the morning with everyone else, but that’s where the similarities stop. The intimate and openly fun atmosphere at the office means that not only does being at work never feel like a drag, but you really feel like you are a part of the business as a whole. Every aspect of the business is worked on around the same group of tables – some people are working on product sourcing, some on design, others on celebrity gifting, and others on sales to companies such as ASOS and Urban Outfitters – and this means that whatever your individual role you quickly get a feel for all the functions of the business, and can see first-hand how your contribution develops within the process.
An office like this shows how fun can thrive alongside cohesion and efficiency, and is a really rewarding environment in which to work. The office mood board, music, and shared desk-space details help shape everyone’s work life into a cool, slightly unusual shape – an irregular polygon of the working world. The encouraged laughter and Love Island gossiping (they sell a Do-Bits-Society mug!) make this workspace a space of amusement, too. Plus #throwbackthursday is given the best type of reality, as a post-work office drinking sesh. Working didn’t seem much like work when we were part of a community enjoying themselves, creating products for others to enjoy. With their stationery being made in the UK, the happy vibe of the products can be traced from when they’re designed to when they’re delivered and received!