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The inspiration behind our new head office

Inspiration is an incredible thing.

Moneypenny co-founders Ed and Rachel, share the ins and outs of creating our new office from scratch.

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What inspired the Moneypenny building?

Rachel Clacher, co-founder: In 2003, there were about 15 of us, we think, and we ended up buying 10,000 square foot because we couldn’t actually afford to rent a building that would accommodate the growth that we felt that we would have in the business and this, for us, is exactly the same decision but we’re just a bit bigger and we just need more space. So then we decided to move into a big building that could accommodate our growth but then that building filled up and then we needed five buildings so, now, we’re in one building again and who knows where that’s going to take us.

Did you ever imagine Moneypenny would achieve this?

Rachel: We never imagined it would lead to this building because actually, at the time, we were so busy, you know, building the business and focussing on getting through each day, each month, each week – that’s the wrong way around but you know what I mean – but the business has always worked and because we’ve grown organically we’ve been able to keep the focus on the right things for the business so it’s part of a 17 year journey, it’s fantastic to be here but no, we would never have imagined this. How fantastic!

What does the Moneypenny building mean to you?

Ed Reeves, co-founder: If the guys walk through the door and they feel that they’ve achieved something then we’re happy. We want everyone to feel that they have made a massive contribution to this place and the more people feel that, then we’re happy because, effectively it’s not Rachel and I who’ve done this, Rachel and I are almost like the consultants who’re brought in to deliver it. We’ve done it for everyone who works at Moneypenny because we know that they’ve given their all for this business and they’re very proud of that and if this building is a manifestation of that pride and of that achievement then we’re over the moon.

How did you design the Moneypenny building?

Rachel: Well, we just asked everybody what they wanted and things that came up were natural ventilation, space, their own home; so this is the antithesis to most offices that are being built at the moment, which is all about hot-desking, whereas our team want to know exactly where they’re going to be sitting and for that to be their home. We want places that we can all sit down in between times when we’re all working hard at our desks. There was a long list and I think everything’s been ticked off.

How will it benefit Moneypenny’s clients?

Ed: We didn’t want clients to walk in and think “This is ostentatious” or anything like that. We’re quite conscious of that, almost to the point where we feel that we should possibly have a plaque outside that said “We were going to build a brick box and this cost us the same as a brick box, we just got a bit smart about how we spent it” and we kind of think that, if clients buy into that and they see that this is about generating value for us and which, in turn, means value for them then that’s a success for us from the clients’ perspective.

How did you work out the cost of the project?

Ed: We actually created the budget for this building by getting a quote based on one of our current offices, which was basically a bred brick box, and we said “100,000 square foot, scale that up to that and give us a price for it” and we actually went out to builders and quantity surveyors and whatnot and they priced that as a complete project and that meant we knew what our starting point was in terms of cost and then, from that – we didn’t add a penny to it – and what we said was, to the architects, “You guys, that’s the red brick box, you’ve got that much money that is required to build that to build something special and you tell us how you’d achieve that” and they went about that in a number of different ways and, as a result, we’ve got a building under budget – a tiny bit under budget – but enough under budget to keep us smiling – and you can still hear workmen going on in the background, it’s still being finished but it will be by tonight – so we’ve got a building under budget, pretty much on time and, on our level, exceeding our expectations and, fingers crossed, exceeding the expectations of our staff, too.

Rachel: But I think that we have been a complete pain in the backside for anybody working with us because I think it’s very rare for people building this size of building to actually be the owner occupiers, so we have, right from the word go, said “We want this, this, this, this and this” and not compromised at all on any of it and we’ve challenged all of those construction industry norms – well not me but Ed, because it’s Ed’s project – have challenged every single industry norm and that has been why Ed’s managed to manage the costs so effectively but that’s meant that our architects, the contractors, everybody has had to work really hard to justify themselves to us. So I think that that owner/manager thing of a building has-

Ed: Good from our side, nightmare for developers!

Rachel: To be fair, they’ve all been amazing but it hasn’t been easy for them at all because we’ve been so pernickety about every last detail and every last cost.

How do you think everyone feels about their new workplace?

Rachel: We just want them to feel proud and to feel part of it and to feel excited about coming here every day. Because we do and part of the reason that we feel excited about it is because of the team that we’re with and, if they feel happy then that’s all good; it’s what it’s all about.

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