Changing location, be it a home or an office, is often a time of reflection – on the memories of the current space and excitement about the possibilities for the new. That's certainly been true for us at Courier. Figuring out the role of the physical office for us and our readers post-lockdown, coupled with the fact that we're in the final stages of fitting out a new space for our London HQ (more on that below), means we've been forced to think a lot about the relationship between our business, its culture and the space it inhabits.
I remember, when we got the keys to our current office a few years ago, how excited I felt at the possibility of building a new space and filling it with things that would not only allow us to work more efficiently and comfortably, but that would help inform, expand and ultimately codify our culture and identity.
In everything from our choice of space – we turned down a lot of ‘traditional’ offices, opting eventually for a modest space with great basics, like big windows that opened on both sides of the room, exposed timber floors and raw concrete walls and ceilings – to the kind of signals we wanted to send our team and visitors – a big communal table for eating together, a spotless bathroom with quality soaps, the first of several Moccamaster drip-filter machines and a slew of plants, including a fig tree in the back corner. In retrospect, I realize we were doing a lot more than just filling a space: we were defining what it meant to be a part of the Courier family.
And our new space is no different. We've had tons of discussions about what our business and team need from a space in a post-lockdown world, where some of the team will work remotely part or all of the time, and where online collaboration will continue to be a big part of our daily workflow. It's been a real but also extremely useful challenge. Given nobody has all the answers, we've found ourselves falling back on our culture and our values to help guide us.
Courier has always been about the intersection of physical and digital, with a strong design aesthetic. In the new office, we've avoided typical office furniture, layouts and materials, instead opting for a series of spaces that people can adapt to how they feel like working. From sofa areas to traditional desks and a beautifully lit ‘library’ for quiet working, we've tried to create a space that can morph to whatever task our team needs to perform.
We've repurposed and recovered vintage furniture and timber to give the space character and used less usual office materials like tiling and textiles to soften the environment. There are private corners designed for video calls and charging points galore, but also cozy nooks and a number of other spaces designed to foster face-to-face communication and collaboration. We've even got a shiny new La Marzocco coffee machine.
Like any project, we won't get every detail right, but it's been an incredible opportunity to interrogate what makes our culture unique, and to explore how we can create a space that makes us happy and productive and, ultimately, helps power the Courier story to fresh new heights. That's the ultimate goal for anyone thinking about how they want to organize their lives, relationships and, of course, their businesses and the spaces they occupy, in 2022.
This article was first published in Courier issue 44, December 2021/January 2022. To purchase the issue or become a subscriber, head to our webshop.