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New Sydney CBD Headquarters for BRG

For more than a year I have been sharing our thoughts on the ‘future of work’. RedBalloon for Business commissioned a white paper on the experience of work – to support leaders in asking the right questions for their own organization.

Each business is different, each has its own unique culture, essence and rhythms. And as a leadership team headed by business partner and Group CEO David Anderson we have had many robust discussions about whether BRG needed a city office. We regularly asked team members for input via our employee survey tool.

Maddi Robins Director People & Culture challenged our thinking on what the new world of work is – knowing it is something we do rather than somewhere we go. Using the six point framework regarding connection, culture, collaboration, development, leadership and innovation.

It came a time where we are confident in the economic outlook as well as the ability for business to operate effectively and efficiently from a CBD location – whilst maintaining the flexibility that remote work offers too.

It needed to be the next chapter for BRG in our journey, it needed to be meaningful, aspirational and also support our ESG agenda.

As such we recently launched the office to the team. Level 17, 5 Martin Place in the heart of Sydney. Whilst it is technically an office where people will work, with desks of course (all with stand-up functionality) – what we really have created is a community gathering place. For our team members, community, supply partners and all our stakeholders.

  • We expect the office to change the way we do business, where, how, and the cadence we can work at, and creativity it brings every day
  • We have asked our team members to play an active part, interview, meet and engage with people here
  • It is a space we are proud to show off in which we all play a part. It is a place that brings creativity, innovation and collaboration to life

We know that for our team members, many have enjoyed the experience of working from home over the last 12 months; others are fatigued by it. Sometimes, the same people have experienced different emotions and levels of happiness at different times. The productivity of some employees has increased; for others it has declined, and for many they have lost sight of the power of a shared space.

Many forms of virtual collaboration are working well; others are not. Some people are getting mentorship and participating in casual, unplanned, and important conversations with colleagues; others are missing out.  Our team are acutely aware of their own individual needs, yet they are unaware of the holistic decline in relationships, collaboration and the long-term impact that could have on our ambition.

As a growth business with a culture that requires challenge, accountability, clarity of communication and alignment, it was time for us to come together to showcase the new paradigm of work. A beautiful new space that amplifies how we work together, which is inclusive and central.

Maddi was able to articulate it well as we launched this to the entire team.

We believe:

The purpose of a workspace is to make the most of the business’s main asset – its people. It is important for pride, branding (both consumer branding and people) – in fact we believe the new office can represent the ultimate interaction of the two.

BRG is growing rapidly, and we know that this will continue If we do this right – the office will be where our business, our values and our people meet – an environment of controlled ‘chaos’ where we can continue to push, innovate, and importantly move forward.

Providing a physical office is the first step, fine tuning how we use it for a hybrid workforce will continue for months to come. Each of our team members has been given the choice of how to use the space. Have a permanent desk for full time office work, book a space if taking a hybrid approach (regular days per week), or if primarily working remotely then use the drop in spaces if in town.

We are not going ‘back’ to an office but forward in our employee experience which will include an ongoing program of experiences at work/

We considered:

  • Opportunities to informally learn will return with a shared space, in which role models of our values, leaders and talent will lift performance across adjacent teams (Mckinsey)
  • Mental health of our team members was also a consideration – fully remote employees are now showing 40% higher risk of burnout without clear boundaries of work/home, this is the case even when they feel more effective at home.
  • Microsoft’s Work Trends Index shows 54% of employees globally feel overworked, and the time they spend in meetings has increased by 2.5 times. Its product data shows that the average Teams user sends 45% more chats per week, and 42% more after hours.

The time seemed right for us. People are choosing experiences – all of the brands within BRG are experiencing significant growth. As such we have employed many new team members who had never been in an office with their colleagues. Now we have a hub for people to do their best work, and to connect not just with their colleagues, but with our greater purpose.

At BRG our purpose is to ‘shift the way people experience life’ – and that definitely includes our new headquarters.




Also published on Medium.

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