EXCLUSIVE: Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Chris Morling, Founder of money.co.uk create dream workspace

EXCLUSIVE: Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Chris Morling, Founder of money.co.uk create dream workspace

With the help of Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Chris Morling, Founder of money.co.uk, has invested £3million into renovating a Victorian castle for their new Cirencester-based headquarters.

Morling consulted his growing team of fifty before embarking on the revamp, which also managed to restore the castle. The envy-inducing office includes a range of on-site luxuries including a Star Wars-themed cinema complete with popcorn machine, a gym, an arcade machine, pool table, table football as well as ‘Rolling Stones’ and ‘Steam Punk’ themed bathrooms.

The offices also embraces estate of the art technology, including 30 TV screens all linked to a HDMI matrix, 52 x SONOS speakers, iPads, in built video conferencing, a 7.2 surround sound system with HD projector and subwoofer built into tier seating and customisable lighting.

We spoke to Morling about his motivation to build such a fantastic workspace: “When we moved into a building three years ago, we were a team of 16 huddled into two rooms. One of the things I always promised myself if I started my own business was not to end up on an industrial estate with the only place to eat being out of a burger van.

“We actually moved into the half of the offices in the castle a year ago then took up the second site as we grew. As beautiful and as wonderful as the space is, it wasn’t overly conducive to productive work. There were a number of issues beyond it looking drab and depressing, but also all the rooms were silos which made collaboration difficult.  

“So the first thing we looked at was which walls we had permission to knock through and I bought on the service of interaction to help employees to better collaborate. We asked everyone what sort of working environment they wanted; some prefer open collaborative spaces whereas others like quiet spaces. Once we set out what everyone wanted, I bought Laurence on board to take it to the next level of flamboyancy, unexpectedness and creativity.”

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen adds: “The place where we work is the dominant space that we inhabit, yet most working environments cling to the refuge of corporate understatement, which I find inconceivable. When you make employees part of something that is as exciting as this, you are demonstrating to them that you have huge commitment to them, are incredibly grateful for everything that they do for you, that their part of the family, not the machine.

“One of the real barometers was Blue Monday – the minute employees came through the door, there were smiles on their faces. The entrance hall has living, growing wallpaper, a birdsong, a bespoke chandelier, which evokes a sense of oasis of living nature and freshness. I hope that this is going to inspire more businesses to start using design as a way of celebrating their workforce.”

Not only is the location impressive, but the culture at money.co.uk is bound to drive talent towards it, having been independently recognised as one of the best places to work in the UK. The team enjoy an all-expenses-paid mini break abroad each year to destinations such as Florida, New York, Budapest, Dubrovnik and Copenhagen.

Furthermore, Morling has pledged to donate 10% of all company profits to charity and staff get three days off a year to volunteer for charity, alongside a £5,000 bonus to donate to a charity of their choice. Free breakfast, flexible start times, monthly socials and an early finish every Friday are other perks employees enjoy.

“For me it’s paramount that you treat your team well, as without them you have nothing,” adds Morling. “My philosophy in life is to treat people how you want to be treated, so that was my starting point. Throughout my career I’ve seen scores of businesses and recognised the elements you need in place to have a happy workforce. One is ensuring that you have the facilities in the workplace to allow employees to work efficiently and collaboratively, but also you cannot forget to give people interesting work, allow them to develop and empower them to work in an environment where it is okay to make mistakes, rather than lambasting them if things go wrong. The number of people that have left in the past fourteen years is in single figures, so hopefully the culture instilled here proves that.”

Or just employ Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen to do up your offices…

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