Q&A: Snapcomms' big move

We talk to Snapcomm about their recent move, what their priorities were and how it's worked for them.

Interview with Christ Leonard of Snapcomms

Tenant: Snapcomms
New Home: Level 1/159 Hurstmere Rd, Takapuna
Move date: December 2018
Sqm Leased: 828sqm
Interview with:
Chris Leonard

How long did you stay at your previous premises? 

We were in our previous space for six years. It was way too large when we first arrived with 12 staff but we eventually grew to 50 staff in 433sqm.

How far out did you start looking for new office premises? Was it long enough?

We started looking seriously six months prior to our lease expiry which was just enough time, however, we underestimated the time taken to negotiate the lease, agree design plans and organise tendering of the fit out works. If we had started a month later, we would have hit issues.

What were the key drivers for your move? 

Outgrowing our old space was the key driver to move, we liked where we were but being closer to the core amenities that Takapuna has to offer was a big attraction to offer staff, we enjoy being much closer to the beach.

How did you determine what your future office should look like? 

There were some things we knew, prior to moving. We came from an open plan environment and we wanted to maintain that, we needed more meeting rooms for collaboration and spaces for private phone conversations. We needed to have a motivating feel about the office and feel proud to bring other colleagues to host workshops for overseas clients and colleagues.

We also knew that we needed to lift our game to attract and retain staff and the premises needed to facilitate this.

Did the move enable you to change the way you are working? Do you provide all staff with a fixed desk? Why or why not?

Yes and No. We still have 100% allocated desks, but we’re able to move around a lot particularly within team area’s ie. stand-ups around the desks and having informal meetings using glass boards to brainstorm.

We are more agile, but everyone still has a desk and we did implement a clear desk policy with no under desk drawers. Everyone has a locker and just brings what they want from their locker to the desk each day leaving the desk clear and clean at night.

More space means we’re able to better position teams together for collaboration as well as fixed locker space for staff which we didn’t have before. We want to encourage staff to move around and converse more.

Activity Based Working (ABW) - fad or fabulous? Why?

Fabulous, but we have our own methodology which is based around collaboration. Key people sit together and move around as required. We are not a big office which enables us to be dynamic, however everyone still has a desk.

Now that you are occupying the new space, how has the feedback been from staff? What is the biggest change?

They love the new environment, it’s lighter and spacious and more collaborative. Staff feel proud to be here, the new office looks the part!

What piece of furniture has made the most impact with staff and how they work?

Stand up desks; we initially thought that only 10% of staff would enjoy them, but now everybody seems to be using them, standing up occasionally and really enjoying the option. Lockers help keep the clutter away and provide a clear environment.

What happened to your on-site storage needs? Have they changed? Are you using less paper?

We are using less paper - dual screens help this, our clear desk policy ensures that we don’t print unnecessary paper either.

What is the one thing you did right with the fit out?

Stand up desks, we made sure there was a decent lunch area, games room, and areas where staff can go to chill and relax.

What is the one thing you would do differently with the fit out?

We should have installed more glass boards on the walls, so we can utilise the walls more for collaboration and stand-up meetings. This means the walls become “working walls”. We are installing these now and they are having a great impact.

What is the one piece of advice you would give another company looking to move premises? 

I would recommend you start earlier than anticipated as six months prior to the lease expiry was only just enough time for us.

I would also recommend making one of your key staff a project manager who can manage the process and ensure everything is organised and accounted for. Make sure you have enough time and clear delegation of responsibility within the business.