Something to write home about
Ares, from People Ops, and Abrar from Recruiting, give a detailed account of the considerations that shaped the wonderful new TrueLayer office.
September 2018 saw TrueLayer reach a significant milestone, with the changing of the seasons comes a new start. After two and a half years of hot-desking and working out of co-working spaces, it was time for us to fly the nest 🐣 and find a place to call our own to turn into a home.
It wasn’t unlike moving out for the first time — we’ve never had to handle facilities management, logistics or interior design to this extent — but as TrueLayer grows, and approaches even bigger challenges heading into 2019, we wanted to show the world, and prove to ourselves, how much we’ve grown up.
After months of research and viewings, we came across multiple options — but satisfying everyone wasn’t easy. Priorities varied between proximity to tube stations, restaurants, bars, number of toilets, bike storage, natural light… the list goes on.
Finding an office to suit everyone’s needs was a difficult and arduous task. But after much searching, multiple trips on bus 38, and walking around some beautiful streets in Clerkenwell, we came across a former warehouse…
A space tailored for our people
The first step was to work on floor plans to suit our growing team. Luca, our CTO and co-founder -surprisingly - gave one of the most fundamental contributions to the creation and arrangement of the new space. Who knew that engineers cared about furniture and interior design? What he had in mind was a cosy space, with warm colours, plenty of natural light and a welcoming atmosphere — both to work and relax in with the TrueLayer family.
We wanted the space built with the purpose and functionality of an office, but also a “home” that has the character of the family that occupies it. So we tried to create different areas to satisfy as many needs, requests, and nuances as we could.
Our 335 sqm home is arranged around a central bleacher area. Designed to host company all-hands meetings, informal brown bag sessions or the occasional ping-pong game, the surrounding space was informally divided into 2 wings. At any time, we’re working in the proximity of all of our colleagues, but importantly, without being in each other’s space.
Quick tip for your new office: don’t overwhelm it with furniture! Moving into a new space for the first time can be difficult, and some decisions made on paper might not work in the real world. A better approach — and one that we took — is move in, and wait for feedback from your teams as they settle into the space. Less rigid planning allows more flexibility.
Our central space also hosts a breakout area with spaces to eat, have small meetings and hot-desk.
A more intimate location was created along the huge windows; 2-seat booths overlooking Exmouth Market’s calm atmosphere and brick buildings, where our colleagues can have a quick 1:1 meeting, or a small team huddle to reflect on the work of the day.
All of these different areas are intertwined through a yellow, blue, and violet-tinted motif: our colours. The transparencies, isometric grids, and other design elements we use are evident throughout the space, as a reminder of what we are building; easy to use products with strong, reliable foundations.
Something for everybody
Diversity, transparency, and collaboration are at the heart of everything we do. Change can be unsettling, so it was important to make the move as consultative, co-operative and accommodating as possible.
For the last few months we’ve had an open “Office” Jira board where the team could make suggestions — a particular brand of coffee machine, standing/sitting desks (in the end we went for an awesome hybrid!) or a ping-pong table (are you even a startup if you don’t have a ping-pong table?🏓) — and watch as their ideas progressed from “Idea” to “In Progress” to “Completed”.
It’s said that you spend one-third of your life at work. That’s a frightening thought. So it’s important you spend that time in a place that accommodates, reflects and brings the best out in you. Our brand grows by following our people, not by people unquestioningly following the brand.
Having our own space has fuelled our need to achieve our mission of growing the Open Banking economy.