What struck you most about your business when you first arrived? Has this changed since?
Walking up to the office for the first time, I was jittery and high on nerves ahead of my job interview. I’d just moved to London and truthfully, this was my first interview since arriving. I was walking down a narrow lane of old Clerkenwell warehouse buildings, and at the oldest most warehouse-y one, I realised I’d reached my destination. I was so taken aback I had to double check I was in the right place. Is this really where I’d find the brand consultancy I’d heard so much about? Surely not. Coming up the elevator that day, I realised that the exterior of the building reflected absolutely nothing of what was inside. I’ve witnessed it a hundred times over now, but there’s a funny kind of relief and surprise on people’s faces when the elevator door opens and they see our studio for the first time.
Waiting in the meeting room for my interview to begin that day, sweating nervously, I distracted myself by imagining how if I got the job this would be my stomping ground – I’d call this place home. And now, of course, I’m living that reality. I know every nook and cranny of this studio space. But more than that I know the people just as well – minus a few crannies. It had only been two days before I felt comfortable with the people I worked with, and that has everything to do with their conscious intention to create a company that does just that.
Work culture isn’t something that exists without making it a priority, and only comes to those who actively make the effort. Booking taxis, budgeting and generally herding cats all goes into trying to forge something that differentiates one workplace from the rest. We’re all familiar with the cliché; the call centre with grey dividers between each desk, pointless and complicated forms to fill out and the endless drone of phones ringing. And it doesn’t matter that every other month or so they buy everyone a slice of pizza – the high turnover of offices like these speak for themselves, and that’s the point – if you’re trying to make something that lasts you don’t want to run a business like that, let alone work for one. That’s why creating work culture isn’t philanthropy, it’s foresight.
And certainly, when someone starts at The Clearing they love all the little things I now take for granted. The nice soap in the bathroom, the good tunes, the Friday fizz at five, the studio breakfasts, and most importantly the flat structure of the company; how we’re all meshed in together working as one team, right down to our physical space. It brings us together, makes us closer – it makes our work stronger. It’s these details that make me proud of the place I work. It’s impossible to imagine being anywhere else, or not having these little things that make our lives a little more enjoyable.
Sometimes the idea of having a pint with your workmates on a Friday sounds like unpaid overtime, but I’ve never felt that way and that’s something that I love about my work culture that I can’t see fading, no matter how many months go by.
What are Wild Cards?
The Clearing have been working with The School of Life to develop 100 questions designed to help you see your brand from new perspectives. We think great conversations begin with a great question. Each week, we’ll share another question and our response to it. Email us with your own answers on firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to know what you think.