United Kingdom HQ 2.0 – moving to a new home
We’re growing fast in the UK. In the past two years we’ve gone from a team of 8 to a team of nearly 70! That’s pretty amazing growth by anyone’s standard. And it means we’re quickly outgrowing our UK starter home in Milton Keynes, twenty-five minutes north of London.
We’re on the move
As much fun as it might be, we don’t want to end up sitting on each others laps. So we’ve been out house-hunting and have found the perfect building for us to move into, just down the road from our current location. This means there’s some logistical challenges to start thinking about: How do you move an entire UK operation from one building to another? How do you make the new office a shining example of everything that’s great about Xero? And how big a range of KitKats will the chocolate vending machine have?
A brief history of Xero UK
When we first brought Xero to the UK in 2008 we briefly flirted with a set-up comprising a couple of desks in a shared workspace in London, before abandoning that in favour of a core team working remotely across (mostly) the south of the UK, meeting up in local coffee shops and hotel lobbies. By the way, you’ll find that coffee plays an important part in the Xero story and having some quality espresso machines is definitely high on everyone’s wish list for the new office.
In March 2012 we moved to our present headquarters in Avebury Boulevard, Milton Keynes where having the whole team under one roof certainly made a big difference, even if the coffee machine left something to be desired. When you all sit together things like communication between departments, team spirit and overall awareness of your shared strategic goals all tend to improve. That feeling of being a member of an extended family is a big part of what we’re about at Xero, so we’re going to make sure we keep that sociable vibe when we move to our bigger building.
What we’re looking for in our new UK HQ
Growth has been a big factor in us outgrowing the current office, but it’s not the only reason. We’ve got three main goals for the new office move. We’re aiming to:
create an awesome work environment for our people and our clients
accommodate the continued growth of Xero UK, and
reinforce the Xero experience in the UK market.
The look and feel of our global Xero offices is something we’re very proud of. Our offices in Wellington, Melbourne and San Francisco are great examples of how a workspace can be flexible, practical and functional whilst also being beautiful. We want our UK HQ to continue this design-led approach to office design. And we want our clients to get that same human, magical Xero experience whichever office they’re in around the world.
And as Xero UK grows we’ll be expanding our offices across the rest of the UK, always with the same careful attention to providing an amazing place for our people to work.
Why Milton Keynes is the perfect location
Yes, we’ve heard all the ‘concrete cow’ jokes. But there are some compelling reasons why Milton Keynes is an amazing location for a UK business. And we’re not alone in thinking this. In our new office we’ll be next door to the Spanish banking giant, Santander (seriously, right next door – so, we’ll be popping round to borrow a cup of sugar) and the 3,500 staff working at their UK customer contact centre. And the UK rail provider, Network Rail, moved 3,000 of its people from London to a new HQ in the city in 2012.
The attraction of Milton Keynes as an HQ comes down to it’s terrific transport links and infrastructure. With the M1 motorway on the doorstep and London a 25-minute journey away on the West Coast Mainline train link (which also brings 75% of the UK’s population within reach of a two hour journey) it’s easy to see why we’ve chosen to base Xero’s UK operations here.
The plans for Milton Keynes are certainly looking amazing. We’ll be moving from 50 desks in our current location to 150 desks in our new HQ. And some of those will even be innovative standing desks that will give us a whole new way of working. So, it’s looking like our new building is definitely going to take us to the next level in our office experience.
Keeping you up-to-date with our progress
Over the coming months, we’ll be updating you on our progress with the new HQ and giving our top tips for a successful office move. There are plenty of things to consider, from IT infrastructure to ergonomic desk layouts, meeting room design to audio/visual set-up. And, of course, where the coffee machines will be. Tune in for part 2 in this series where our new Facilities Manager will give us her advice on making the move as pain-free as possible.
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