Oculis Construction Consultants Limited
A smooth transition of office space during a pandemic and the importance of flexible workspace
Like many businesses across the UK, on 23rd March 2020, construction consultants, Oculis Construction Consultants Limited, changed the way they were working. After providing a remote set up to enable staff to work from home, they waited to see how the pandemic would unfold and what impact it would have on the construction industry.
As a small team, they quickly realised that working from home wasn’t going to work for them and, after the first lockdown, made the decision to transition to new office space. Given the nature of their business, Oculis’s team required space which provided flexibility - space to collaborate and work safely as a team, as well as space to meet and effectively communicate safely face-to-face with customers.
WorkWell was able to successfully meet this need and in turn address the challenges they were facing.
Oculis moved to WorkWell’s Carrwood Park site in June 2020. Amidst all the challenges and the restrictions due to COVID constraints, WorkWell staff onboarded Oculis team successfully. At the time they were a team of four and required office space for their team to work with additional meeting space for customer presentations and meetings. Since June 2020, their team has grown to seven, and they have since moved into a larger collaborative workspace which can accommodate their growth.
The construction industry is one of the industries exempt from the work from home scenario due to the nature of work. The challenges faced by the Oculis team mentioned below emphasise the importance of team collaboration and team effort when other industries open up post COVID.
We talk here with Oculis Director, Steve Voke about the workspace challenges they faced due to the pandemic, how their new workspace has impacted their company culture, the challenges facing the construction industry and the value his team get from moving to WorkWell.
In this interview Steve also talks about the importance of flexible workspace in achieving company objectives.
Workspace challenges because of the Covid-19 pandemic
"Working from home, things were just not getting picked up"
Working from home for the Oculis team was “detrimental” said Steve. He explained: “In our business not everyone is doing the same job, we’re all working on similar projects at any one time, and you have to feed each other.”
As a small business, one of the biggest challenges for Oculis was communication.
Steve added: “When you’re in an office environment, all working on various projects, you talk - somebody might say something and you hear what they say, then you might pick up another conversation about something else. Working from home you lose all that and things weren’t getting picked up. This was probably the biggest challenge for us.”
The team’s set up at home was not conducive to a productive working environment.
Steve said: “Everyone has different home lives, which means they all work in different ways and working from home became quite challenging for a few members of staff who found it quite suppressing.”
Once lockdown restrictions were lifted Steve liaised with his team, giving them the choice on how and where they wanted to work, and everyone agreed they wanted to be back in the office.
Steve reached out to WorkWell, as he was already aware of the quality of space that was on offer and was able to move his team into a collaborative private office space within weeks.
Steve commented: “WorkWell has made it extremely comfortable. Due to the nature of our business, we have a lot of clients visit us and because of the size of the meeting space available at WorkWell, we’ve been able to hold face-to-face meetings with clients, safely and comfortably.
“Over the last few months, we have been working on a number of big projects where we’ve held meetings for 10 to 15 people at a time. The conference facilities at WorkWell have allowed us to hold these meetings with some people together in the room and some virtually. Even with some people on video it’s felt like everyone is in the same room. For us, as a small business having the meeting room function has been massively important, especially with the clients and projects we’ve been working on.”
The need to move
"Had the opportunity to move to WorkWell's Carrwood Park not come up we would probably still be working from home which would have been detrimental to our business."
The decision to move office space was very much a team decision. To secure the success of the business, the Oculis team agreed that they needed to move to an office that provided them with the space and flexibility to expand and work more efficiently.
Steve explained: “We’ve always taken staff well-being as paramount; they are our business and without them we couldn’t do what we do.
“The whole team was comfortable with the move. Our previous office was cramped and if we were still there, we certainly wouldn’t be working from the office. Had the opportunity to move to WorkWell’s Carrwood Park not come up we would probably still be working from home which would have been detrimental to our business.”
Having recently re-branded, Steve also wanted to ensure that their office space reflected their new brand.
He said: “We’ve decided to go with something quite modern for our new branding, we want everything about us to convey professionalism, and our office space is part of our brand – the two have to work together and that’s one of the reasons we chose WorkWell.”
Workspace and company culture
"It's all about the working environment for my staff and if they are happy in their environment then I get more out of them"
Since moving to WorkWell, Steve has seen a significant improvement in how his team are performing. They have also recently recruited making the need to align staff, new and old, with work as well as brand and values even greater.
Steve commented: “Since returning to the office, the team have been much more productive. For me, it’s all about the working environment for my staff and if they are happy in their environment then I get more out of them.
“Everything about WorkWell works for the team, the facilities and accessibility is great and for me it’s worth paying a premium for. Our previous office wasn’t very inviting and in business perception is a huge thing. Our clients love coming to WorkWell and that’s hugely important.
“I personally love the space; I love the environment and I love the surroundings. We use the outdoor space a lot for meetings in the summer, and that’s something you don’t get in a lot of other serviced office environments."
Workspace and addressing industry challenges
"Having the flexibility at WorkWell to grow was key for us in making a decision to move."
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the construction industry. While the industry has kept busy there have been many businesses which have suffered, putting added pressure on the sector.
For Steve, he sees the demand for small businesses like Oculis getting greater as the year unfolds, meaning having the flexibility to grow from a workspace perspective is integral.
He said: “Having the flexibility at WorkWell to grow was key for us is making a decision to move. We need to ensure we can continue to service our clients as we grow. At WorkWell we have the functionality to do that in terms of meeting space and technology and this is hugely important.”
The value of WorkWell
Steve sees WorkWell offer enormous value to his business and to his team. The most important elements for Oculis as a business, which WorkWell delivers is flexibility, facilities, service and environment.
“Flexibility of space is key, being able to up or downsize as required, particularly in the current climate is important.”
“Meeting facilities are also key, as we move out of the pandemic people will want to interact more and will require the space in order to do that.”
“The service at WorkWell is excellent, the staff couldn’t do any more, they are all incredibly helpful, welcoming and professional.”
“Having the right environment and being able to respond to the change in market needs is important, which WorkWell do extremely well.”
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