Pact Coffee’s rules of start-up workspaces

Subscription coffee service and thriving start-up, Pact Coffee, are one of a number of new companies who have taken the decision to house both production and the running of the company on the same premises. With their South London HQ being home to not just those who manage the website and deal with customer service queries, but also those responsible for packing and shipping the coffee.

To get an insight into the design aspects of the multifunctional HQ, as well as some tips on how to maintain an environment that lets a hardworking team flourish, we asked Pact’s HR manager, Laura Kelly, for her thoughts...

Pact Coffee HQ reflects the environment our customers experience our coffee in, it helps the team focus on what’s important to the people who’re buying and drinking our coffee every day. It’s just incredibly lucky for me that means recreating an 'at home' feel here in the office.

An employer should recognise the time and effort employees dedicate to their role and respond in kind. Our employees are always going above and beyond the nine to five, they come up with innovative ways to complete their jobs to an incredibly high standard with little resource and very tight deadlines.

From an HR point of view, this is a clear recipe for stress. And as it’s all job related stress, so how can a clever office space help reward them for this hard work?

The answer is to think about, and then take away, the other stresses people regularly experience at work. It can be as simple as giving people a comfortable space that they enjoy being in or letting them move their desk away from a wall. Our office is designed to feel homely with our Kitchen style storage units, big wooden kitchen tables and comfortable seating pretty much anywhere that doesn’t have a desk in it and of course all the good, fresh coffee and brewing kit you would ask for.

If you’re spending 50 or more hours a week somewhere, it’s helpful to see it as a home away from home and we know we’ve managed this because of the number of staff who stay late in the office just to hang out, or pop in on a saturday to make themselves a coffee on their way into central London.

To help make that happen it’s important to ask employees what they want and let them build it themselves. If they really care about something they’ll want to help you put it in place, and it means the space is constantly open to evolving as the needs of our employees changes.

Our staff are extremely creative so with this open policy, and having managed two office refits for Pact, I’ve seen my fair share of novelty workspace ideas. However my policy of keeping it simple and flexible has stood me in good stead for warding off the impractical.

There's actually quite a big list of things we rejected for the space.

Some of the rejected suggestions include; a full size lemon tree, a fireman’s pole, bike desks, treadmill desks, an office dog, an office drone, a £3,000 neon Pact sign, a foosball table and a ping pong table.

However, we did also say yes to a fair bit, such as; dishwashers, chalkboard walls, whiteboard walls, a large screen TV, coffee classes, desks not facing the walls, meeting and 'get out' spaces, breakfast cereal, fruit, snacks and drinks.

Generally, the rule is if it’s going to help you work smarter and be more productive and it can move or be changed as we grow – then we absolutely say yes. You can check out our Pact HQ virtual tour here.

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Please see for more details.


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