Where are the best head offices in the UK?
Most offices are dull, drab affairs – painted a colour of off-white, filled with as many desks as humanly possible and perhaps with a whiteboard and a few long-forgotten notices posted on the walls. However, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some of the most creative companies have some of the most interesting head offices – using them as a means to inspire their employees and promote the brand to anyone lucky enough to be invited inside their doors. Here, we take a look at some of the UK’s most exciting, inspiration, and flat out best headquarters and head offices.
Fruit Towers – Innocent Drinks
Though some may argue they lost some of their cool point when they sold a large chunk of their shares to Coca Cola, Innocent Drinks are still one of the most well respected and admirable companies in the UK. Based out of their self-styled Fruit Towers in London, it is the embodiment of everything they promote their company to be. The coolers full of free smoothies are only the start – they also offer a free breakfast to all employees, as well as having its own library in which staff can spend their downtime – one of the many reasons that a position with Innocent is one of the most sought after in the UK.
Carpeted with fake grass and covered with bunting, anyone visiting the building is immediately greeted with a Smoothie testing room, where the latest formulae for their drinks are being perfected. With a picnic spot feel, the Innocent run their own fun days to keep staff entertained and have themed meeting rooms to spice up potentially drab chats.
Innocent Drinks, Fruit Towers, Canal Building, 342 Ladbroke Grove, London, W10 5BU
0207 993 3311
Google London HQ
Though their main base in in Silicon Valley, California, perhaps even more impressive is Google’s UK Head Office in London. Set over 160,000 square feet, it is far from your standard HQ – with a design that is on the cutting edge of its kind. Playing with traditional British image – the Union Jack, in particular, plays a large role in many of the rooms, while there are areas that twist old English pubs, Granny Flats and lush garden-themed spaces, too.
The aim is to provide an environment in which employees of the search engine giant feel at home, and are not afraid to take risks – something that Google has long been known for. Possibly the most Instagram-ed of any company base worldwide, the company has a policy that borders on open-door, with the ‘secret’ garden terrace offering scenic views of London. Other nice touches are the padded cell themed meeting room (something that any office worker would likely appreciate), airlocked spaces for venting (and privacy) and roof-top allotments for staff to stretch their green fingers.
Google London, Google UK Ltd, Belgrave House, 76 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9TQ
0207 031 3000
BBC Salford (MediaCityUK)
When the BBC announced plans to move a large proportion of its operations to Salford, it raised a few eyebrows – especially from the London based media, who can rarely see the point in anything existing outside of the M25. Those complaints have fallen silent recently, as the wisdom of bringing a wealth of jobs up North has proved successful, and should offer opportunities for those in and around Manchester for generations to come. Much of the reason that the transition has been so smooth, however, is the glorious headquarters that BBC has furnished at MediaCity, Salford.
Part of a much larger complex, the building contains many innovations – most notable among them being the ‘thought wheel’ meeting spaces – which the company believes energises one-on-one chats between Beeb employees, and allows for a much more comfortable experience. Much of the BBC’s research and development is based in Salford too – meaning advances in 3D television (and 3D sound, too) are being developed from it’s northern HQ. They also use MediaCity’s plaza for screenings and events that make the wider public feel more involved with the corporation.
The Greenhouse, 111 Broadway, Salford, Greater Manchester, M50 2EQ
0161 886 5300
Mind Candy, London
Though a much smaller company than many of the others listed here, Mind Candy have developed their head offices with their core demographic in mind. Makers over the popular Moshi Monsters franchise, the office is a child-friendly environment – and, as a result, children are often invited in for market research, while kids of employees are sometimes in just for a mess around.
For staff, there are ping-pong tables, padded booths for lunchtime meetings and even a slide for getting to the ground floor. The walls are illustrated with Moshi Monsters – one is even done in the style of a colouring book, so staff at a loose end can spend their time shading in famous characters. Visitors can even get some free goodies from the free-of-charge sweet machines in reception.
4th Floor, Bonhill Building, 15 Bonhill Street, London, EC2A 4DN
020 7501 1900
Red Bull, London
Designed by Jump Studios, Red Bull’s London head office was designed with the energy, dynamism and movement of the energy drink’s branding in mind. Most notable in the innovations is the use of slides – seemingly a staple among the cooler offices – as well as use of state-of-the-art technology in order to create a connected and efficient office space. All of the top three floors are ‘stitched’ together, making one smooth transition through the three, all done with carbon fibre.
A favourite of many office aficionados due to the design’s close ties in colour and design to the drink itself, the end effect is a head office that is boldy futuristic and minimalist and yet retains a sense of warmth. Reportedly, many of the features were made with the trace patterns of snowboarders, stunt planes, race cars and bikes in mind – all sports with which Red Bull very closely associates itself through sponsorship.
155-171 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2JP
020 3117 2000
Image used by various (BBC, Telegraph, numerous websites blogs of varying sizes) either without accreditation or sourced to ‘Mother London’)
For a company that was reportedly founded around a kitchen table in 1996, it is fitting that the core of its head office is based around a desk, too. A PR company, Mother claim that their mission statement is “To make great work, have fun and make money. Always in that order.” – to do this, it seems that they’ve eliminated heirachy from their business. Rather than having the traditional struggle for a corner office, their HQ has one continuous desk running throughout the building.
Done in order to make sure that there is no ‘best seat’ – and to encourage staff to stay connected – it has clearly worked for Mother London. Their list of clients are among the very biggest in the world, with notable recent campaigns being Snoop Dogg’s turn for Money Supermarket, Elle Magazine and PG Tips much loved Monkey.
10 Redchurch Street, London, E2 7DJ
020 7012 1999