Heading home. How an office move became a digital transformation. Part 1/6

Toby Bridgham
Nov 21 · 3 min read

“We’re moving offices,’’ they said, “can you start coming to a few meetings?”. The statement and initial request was quite simple. Yes, there would be some pain; moving kit, a few weekends work to get people up and running, but the scope was obvious. But then came the detail;

Exec: “They want to introduce agile working”.
Project Team: “You mean hot-desking?”
Exec: “Absolutely not, we want to enable people to work from any desk, or any location, and not have a 1:1 desk ratio”
Project Team: “So you mean hot-desking?”
….. (awkward silence)….
Exec: “No. This is agile working, it’s different…”

And so the journey began. It was started by Nikkei buying the FT, and thus needing to move out of our existing premises, back into a building previously built and owned by the FT, hence ‘heading home’. But this wasn’t just a move, it was a digital transformation of a business. Without spoiling this series of posts, it would be fair to say we exceeded our expectations, and hopefully those of the people using the systems we implemented. Across every single technology stream that we set up for the move, we implemented completely new, advanced technical solutions; voice, print, desktop, audio-visual and networks.

Bracken House

But it wasn’t just about satisfying a nerdy itch to implement new tech, it was the outcome that we were most interested in. To create an environment where people could be agile, without needing to consider how they would do this. Agility has become a way of life, rather than a consideration.

This blog series tells the journey of the changes we have made to a fully agile workforce. Delivering against this strategy allowed our staff to be fully operational within 30 minutes of walking into the new building for the first time.

Coffee Shop Vision

So we were moving offices. But what was our plan? Luckily, prior to the project kick-off, we had already done some work in this area in an attempt to define a strategy, focused on what we thought the business of the future might want. Three of us sat in a room and came up with a relatively simple prediction, flexibility was our hunch. Put another way, they would want to be able to work from anywhere; across the office space, in other offices, at home, on the move, or in a coffee shop. Hence the Coffee Shop Vision was born.

It wasn’t a strategy that we started shouting from the rooftops, but it was something we hoped would help us as we reviewed products and set a vision for future projects.

In addition to the end-user strategy, we also had a technology directive to move everything to the cloud by 2020.

The significant point was that we already had a plan, so when the requirement for a new office of staff hotdesking, sorry agile working (the last one, I promise), we were ready to hit the ground running.

FT Product & Technology

A blog by the Financial Times Product & Technology department.

Toby Bridgham

Written by

Head of End User Services at the Financial Times.

FT Product & Technology

A blog by the Financial Times Product & Technology department.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade