Pascale Hayward talks to Olly Olsen, co-founder and co-CEO of the Office Group, London

Olly Olsen, co-founder and co-CEO of the Office Group, London

Imagine working in a prestigious office environment with impressive reception areas welcoming your visitors, relaxing and comfortable design-led break-out areas, bright and modern meeting rooms with state-of-the-art technology and a team of friendly, smiling staff always on hand to help. Welcome to the Office Group. Here nothing is left to chance, everything is thoroughly thought through, from the choice of location, building, architect, design, atmosphere and the final luxury touches. Each building or office is unique, creatively designed and is aimed at the high end of the market.

LM: Olly, do you fit the definition of the successful entrepreneur? Tell us more about your working life?
OO: I don’t believe that I am a stereotypical entrepreneur. I am someone who is 100% focussed and determined to reach my goals. I believe in not just what we’re doing but why we’re doing it. Success is not just financial but I believe that success comes from being a pioneer in our market, a leader in our market and having a good reputation within our market.

Pascale Hayward talks to Olly Olsen, co-founder and co-CEO of the Office Group, London 3

My working life starts at 6am with a strong coffee. Talking to my children sets me up for the day ahead and hopefully I manage to fit in some exercise at home. I drive into the office, making voice notes and reminders so I am ready for a daily catch-up with my PA. For the rest of the day, I try not to get caught up in the usual battle with an ever-busy inbox. I focus on spending as much time as possible talking to our front of house staff, managers, suppliers and clients.

LM: You are a co-founder, co-CEO. Who else is in the top team?
OO: Charlie Green is also co-founder and co-CEO. We are brothers – not by blood but we’re very much together in this business and we couldn’t start and finish without each other. Lloyd Dorfman, the founder of Travelex, is our Chairman and majority shareholder. Between the three of us, we have a great dynamic.

Black and White Building in Shoreditch and Leeds

LM: What services does The Office Group offer?
OO: The Office Group provides flexible offices and meeting rooms. There’s also ClubRooms, our drop-in work spaces. We focus on building spaces that enable every way of working, for every sort of business. We’re about location, exciting design and great people. And we work hard on our sustainability.

LM: What was the marketing strategy behind the creation of The Office Group and is it still the same today?
OO: Our overall strategy is to evolve serviced offices from what was a temporary and expensive property option into a long-term, design-led viable place for any business to house themselves. At The Office Group, your office is your office.

LM: What have been the highs and lows since the creation of the business. And are you confident for the future?
OO: There haven’t been any significant lows so far. The highs have been raising the money to buy out our previous investors and teaming up with Lloyd Dorfman in 2010. With regards to the future, as long as the demand for simplicity and flexibility remains, I remain confident.

Pascale Hayward talks to Olly Olsen, co-founder and co-CEO of the Office Group, London 4

LM: Do some competitors try to copy your designer architecture and decor? How do you stay ahead of them?
OO: We are beginning to see some imitation in our competitors. We stay ahead of ourselves by evolving every new building. We use different designers ensuring a different approach and a clear mind for each property.

LM: Where are your most prestigious buildings?
OO: Green Park House in Mayfair and Manchester Square in the heart of the West End are obvious choices although I would argue that the Black and White Building in Shoreditch is just as prestigious even though we haven’t spent as much money on the actual fit out. The newly opened Gridiron Building is in the redeveloped Kings Cross area which is bursting with creativity (with Google soon to be our neighbours in the near future).

LM: Do you provide them with an end product or can your clients bring their own style and final touches?
OO: Our clients have as much or little input as they like with the offices they use in our buildings. It’s their office – they can do whatever they want within the 4 walls.

Green Park House in Mayfair

LM: London is now the most expensive place in the world for office rental, do you agree? How do you see the future of the office rental market for the next 5/10 years?
OO: I believe this is a fact and also I think that London is one of the most exciting places to be. Other global cities could overtake but English helps to outweigh competing cities. The market as we know it is still ascending. It is cyclical and there is another two to three years of growth before any immediate change. I am somewhat concerned over the tech valuation of some businesses. Let’s hope that this is not steering us into a false economy; this is one area that could contribute towards any downturn.

The teams at the buildings are pretty much the most important part of The Office Group

Editorial Team

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