The Drum Network catches up with digital agency Mando to find out about its recent relocation, with managing director Ian Finch offering some advice to other agencies considering a new home.
In November, digital agency Mando relocated to the 4th floor of 5 St Paul’s Square in Liverpool from its base of nine years at Liverpool Science Park, where it had grown to over 50 staff. The office has been designed and completed by fit-out specialists Tétris-bluu.
The Drum Network caught up with Mando managing director Ian Finch to talk about the move, the motivation behind it, and get his tips for other agencies considering relocation.
What prompted the need for an office move?
We had been in our previous space for nine years and almost doubled our team in that time. We were in a great position where we had outgrown our previous home and needed something larger that allowed for more space for collaboration between the team. We’re continuing to grow over the next few years and will have 2,000 square foot more to work with.
We had some great times and wonderful memories at the Liverpool Science Park and have massively appreciated its support throughout Mando’s teenage years (we’re 20 next year). It’s exciting to have now grown the business to a size where we need more space and are ready to take things to the next level.
Why did you select the new location?
For the quality of the office space and the facilities it provides us – the right amount of space, good facilities and a roof terrace for summer entertaining. The space we have now gives us more flexibility – allowing us to host events within our own home and extend the Mando experience to event attendees.
We are now in the heart of the financial district, close to many of our clients and to a growing number of agencies that are taking their businesses to the next level. We want to have a place staff want to come to rather than have people working from home. It’s also a place customers will want to visit.
The building type and size more easily allows us to control the customer exerience from the front door of the building to the front door of our office. Being a UX focused digital agency, this was an important consideration for us. We wanted the space to express the company’s brand values of ‘curious, collaborative, momentum makers’.
What was the process for planning/designing the new workspace?
We first selected a property agent who went through requirements gathering with our senior team and then proposed a longlist and shortlist of very varied property options across the city. He also helped us to negotiate the deal with our preferred location.
In parallel, once at shortlist stage for property, we did a selection process for design and build companies which the property agent assisted with. Following interviews and pitches, we engaged Tétris-bluu, which has also worked with Karmarama, Spotify, Dreamworks and Buzzfeed. We chose Tétris-bluu as it had the best understanding of our values and reflected this through a concept for the office space which we felt was the most engaging and creative.
How does the new space better cater to staff, visitors and clients?
The customer experince for visitors was important and we now have a smooth transition from the building reception through to our front door. On entry, guests are welcomed by a large-screen ‘Mando Bot’ in the reception area on a floor to ceiling projection wall.
They then make their way to the Curious room, a Sherlock Holmes-inspired 1920s style lounge with a range of antiques and artefacts. Our large-open plan kitchen is where guests can take a seat while waiting – rather than a small reception area, this fits much more with our value of collaboration. It’s an area where staff can sit and dine together and enjoy the social side of the business, rather than simply eating at their desks.
We have many other meeting spaces where the team can get together to work collaboratively, including an informal creative breakout space with block seating that can be rearranged and configured to suit the need, comfortable sound-proofed meeting ‘snug’ pod, an eight person meeting room and boardroom. Within the studio area, there’s hot-desking, standardised workstations, lockers and the provision of standing desks, all to make collaborative working easier than ever.
In line with Mando’s environmental policy, paper storage will be at a minimum with documents viewed and stored digitally. Staff are treated to the holy grail of office comfort – office temperature mapping. We have embraced the internet of things philosophy, with thermometers strategically placed around the offices linked to a heat-map screen, allowing staff to find their perfect working location.
Other office zones, which will be fitted out shortly, will offer green-screen technology for video podcasting and an open-air dining experience with Wi-Fi on the adjoining roof terrace.
What advice would you offer other agencies about to undergo change in location?
My advice would be to invest time initially in selecting the right design and build partner for your agency. It will save you a lot of time in the long run.
Also, involve your staff at all stages of the process. Our team had two site visits, regular videos and photos of progress, and we displayed all of the designs and mood boards throughout the transition.
This article was originally published in The Drum Magazine, find out more here.