Workplace of the week: Towngate
Describe your business in no more than 100 words.
Towngate PLC is a commercial lettings specialist and landlord. We provide high quality commercial and industrial properties to businesses throughout the North of England, in order to help them grow. We understand how important it is to go the extra mile and make our customers feel valued, so we put a lot of effort into ensuring that our whole team is personable, approachable and professional.
What kind of workplace do you have? Factory, offices, home office...
We are based in an office space at Woodvale House in Brighouse, which has recently undergone an exciting refurbishment. We also overlook Wellholme Park, creating the perfect setting for the sporty members of our team!
Is there an interesting history to your workplace? For example, did it have a different use before it became your workplace?
Our particular workspace is one of the most recent offices to be built in the vicinity, but the surrounding properties within the Woodvale Office Park have been converted from a silk mill built in 1877. There was a fire in the 1980s, which meant buildings had to be reconstructed, but the majority of the site still holds its original character. In fact, we have a terrific historical drawing on display of the original mill and some facts surrounding its construction in the 1800s.
What makes your workplace special?
The recent refurbishment at Towngate has made our space clean, modern and fresh. And because of this, it has become an office that is welcoming and warm, which makes it a pleasure to work in every day.
We are a fairly sporty bunch, so I think what also makes our space special is its close proximity to some great facilities. Surrounding our office, there is a swimming pool, tennis courts and a 5K trial for running enthusiasts and walkers alike, so it’s really convenient for getting active before and after work – or even on our lunch break! We had an additional washroom and shower installed as part of the refurbishment and whilst it doesn’t sound like much, it means we can get our trainers on and let off some steam.
Who is responsible for making your workplace brilliant?
It has to be the team! Whenever we are renovating a new property – including our own workplace – we all have an input into the refurbishment process. All of these individual ideas – no matter how small – piece together like a jigsaw to create some really exciting office and warehouse spaces, for both ourselves and our many tenants.
What made you want to deviate from the standard ‘desk, chair, kettle’ office setup?
From the outside, it would appear we have a stereotypical office setup, but we wanted to move away from this, so created a ‘breakout’ room. This informal space allows all of the staff to take time away from their desk and have a cup of tea, eat their lunch or simply step back from work life for a moment. We are also looking at creating a garden and picnic area for the summer months – however brief they may be!
How does this affect morale, productivity, staff retention?
Having somewhere to unwind, and activities in such close proximity, boosts all of the employees enormously! Some people may not use these facilities every day, but to know that there is somewhere to escape to as and when its needed, really takes the pressure off.
We have even noticed that the little informal chats that we have away from our desks, sometimes result in some great ideas for the business and our clients!
What kind of reaction do you get from visitors and clients when they see how you work?
As of yet, not many people have seen the new office – it has been a work in progress for some time now. But everyone who has visited loves the renovations, and comments on the new bright and open feel. Our tenants, colleagues and associates are always welcome to pop in for a coffee, to have a proper nosey around and see the space for themselves.
How far is too far – have you had to say no to anything?
When it comes to requests from our tenants, we try to be as accommodating as possible to ensure they’re happy. For instance, a neighbouring occupant of ours recently decided to renovate an empty shipping container on site to transform it into a cosy hub for the homeless, which was then taken to a suitable location for a charity. We definitely try to fulfil all of our tenants needs and requests – especially when it’s for a great cause!
What other plans do you have to make your workplace even better?
Due to our recent refurbishment, we can’t currently think of anything that would make our space any better than it already is – we are all very happy with it. But, myself and the team are passionate about giving something back, especially to charity. So, we have created a Charitable Giving Committee and we hope to continuously raise valuable money for great causes – such as the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice and Kirkwood Hospice – which will undoubtedly boost morale in the office too! (Watch out for news of our fund-raising escapades!)
Published: 17 May 2018