We moved into IPC Media’s new HQ today, in the Blue Fin building (part of the Bankside development immediately behind the Tate Modern on London’s Southbank. One immediate bonus; we now have our rapidly expanding web development team all sat in one rather large area for the first time since the headcount broke 35 (it’s now 50+ and still rising).
You cannot really overstate how difficult it is to manage a multi-discipline technical team over two floors. We’ve only been split that way since January, when our recruitment drive forced us into a second office six floors above our original base in IPC’s King’s Reach Tower. We like really collaborative arrangements where developers swap freely information and ideas but, while the two teams were only an energetic run up a few flights of stairs (for the fit) or a short lift ride away (for the unfit management when the lifts were working), we might as well have had one group on a moonbase, such was the lack of contact.
Not that sitting everyone open plan to one another guarantees good comms as we have found out to our cost before. But at least there are a lot less excuses when all that stands between you and a meaningful conversation is a very short walk or a half-height partition.
Am I alone in thinking that technology (phone, IM, email, conferencing in various flavours) has yet to completely eradicate the value of face-to-face contact?
The move went very smoothly, an object lesson in project management by those responsible in the company’s facilities team. Around 500 people were relocated this weekend and the move team have another seven weekends like this to co-ordinate. They should sleep well after that little lot.
Of course there have been the mild amusements of a new environment. For example we did get our knuckles wrapped for bringing foolscap filing into an A4 world, such is the keenness to keep our sparkling new uniform office spaces errr…sparkly new and uniform. I couldn’t quite rumble the disguised location of the soap and towels in the toilets (hidden back under the mirrors, my thanks to diplomatic cleaner who pointed that out). The phones are also somewhat more complicated than our computers at first glance but if we cannot rise to the technical challenge then I guess it will be a bad thing 🙂
A highlight of the day was two main board directors pushing an ice cream trolley and dishing out the contents freely. Temperature control on the first day of anyone occupying our floor was a bit tropical; the ices added somewhat to the holiday feel. Tomorrow no doubt the novelty will have worn off a little although the new building is so chalk and cheese from the old that the feelgood factor should have a decent set of legs for some time to come.