With the majority of the PRCA membership based in central London, there’s a clue that a city centre location is probably good for a PR business. But in today’s world of connectivity why should it matter? Couldn't we be based anywhere?
Here at Firefly, we have remodelled our business over the past three years. For twenty years, we had our London HQ in Fulham, West London. We are now slap bang central in W1 and we have just moved to larger premises. The rent is higher than Fulham, but the abounding opportunities and the ease on recruitment more than compensate. We have experimented and discovered a perfect half-way house on location that services both clients and employees perfectly.
Our office is spacious with hot desks, wifi and lots of informal/drop in areas and desks for clients to ‘hang out with us’ for a few hours in between meetings. It’s working. Already in two weeks, we’ve had a quadrupling in visitors. Everyone loves our ‘turret’ room. We seem to be a very popular destination – nearest tube Oxford Circus.
The core Firefly team based in our W1 HQ, is a mix of full and part-time employees. We have very few filing cabinets, as there’s limited need to store hard copies of anything now. We have no servers and very little physical operational clutter.
To supplement the core HQ team we have a ‘reserve team’ of virtual Fireflies based outside of the capital, so we can expand and contract the support we offer to our clients with ease. We have a growing army of amazing, experienced PR outliers, many of them ex-Firefly employees, who all log into our Firefly world and operate in our Firefly cloud using our tools and techniques, following our approach and working over IM, Skype and facetime as if they were sitting at the next desk.
It’s a winning combination of the core team who are the main client handers supplemented by additional experienced firepower.
I would state that a city location helps a growing agency recruit great talent; as we have just done with an Account Executive and Account Coordinator recruitment drive. Bringing in and training up young people is the life-blood of our industry and young people generally want to work in a busy, buzzy City centre and need a nurturing culture in which to develop and thrive.
But our industry also often loses those talented professionals to parenthood which doesn’t need to be a career halting.
Firefly’s approach of offering a core team, supplemented by experts, but all working together ‘as one team’ gives our clients the right balance of support, challenge and results. It also gives the workforce the support, encouragement and flexibility it needs, when it needs it most.
You can read more about our team’s thoughts on working locations and solutions, here:
Phil, our Head of Business and Digital, has written before about why London is the centre of the PR agency universe.
Claire is a regular commentator on women in PR.