In many companies the decisions that get people more emotionally involved than anything else is not the big strategies and visions, but issues like canteen food, who sits where and office moves. In the UK, Just-Eat.co.uk sit together with the various central Just-Eat functions (Tech, Prod. Mgmt., Fin & Acc, me, etc.) and that is excellent, since being close to an operational environment is key to understand your business. It also fosters the feeling that we are One Company, and not a number of independent companies/departments that can live in isolation from each other.
The actual office space in UK is located in Northern London, Edgware. Posh people hear “Edgware Road” when we say “Edgware”, because Edgware Road is in a shiny and central part of town, whereas Edgware is not know by people that does not come here often. But we like Edgware, because it does the job: fairly cheap office rent close to a tube station with basic shopping facilities near by, and it is an easy location for our 25 man strong UK sales team to visit by car instead of going all the way through town.
But, of course, there are some downsides with this office. It does look a bit shabby (not a problem for me, but it is for some of my colleagues that has some degree of aesthetics), and some people can be difficult to recruit unless we have a more central address. The solution is therefore, that Tech and the Product Management team is moved to a new, flashy address centrally in London (not found yet), and the rest of us will stay in Edgware. We still need another office for those of us who stay here, but at least we will stay around here (on Northern Line). Many of us has optimized our private address in order to have a good commute specifically to Edgware – and a good commute is worth it’s own weight in gold in this city.
However, this plan has been the focus of a coup d’etat. The other day, I came into an office while three of my trusted colleagues obviously did not expect my presence, they became muted very quickly, their eyes were unruly and they tried to hide what was in the screen. It happened to be a map of the area where I am living … and a picture of an office in Watford! That was a clear challenge to my authority and I of course had to take due action – they have all three been disciplined in the harshest manner, no lollypop’s for a whole week.
So, we are staying here for a while yet, but it is interesting to see how much different people put into the physical make-up of an office. In the .com days super smart offices were the norm, but I am not sure it payed off. Personally, I don’t care to much with the interiour, but it is crucial that there is daylight coming in, and the view is good. From where I sit now, I can see the end of London, where the green fields and forests starts and the wild animals roams freely just before the Scottish border. That does it to me. And it’s a lot less expensive than the West End, London, so there is more to invest in marketing. That also does it for me.