Barker Insurance Brokers - a move made easy with M+F
For 20 years Barker Insurance Brokers worked out of a house that they converted into offices. And so, when they moved into an office building, it was a big change for them. Fortunately, they had M+F together with IQ Design (the appointed Interior Designers) with them all the way.
Barkers CEO, Rhett Barker, says the company had always worked in a happy environment and was looking to move into a bigger space to accommodate planned growth. Moving from 530m2 to 800m2, with the headcount remaining the same, the focus was predominantly on filling the new space with furniture that would work in an expanding business.
The M+F and Barker teams clicked immediately.
‘They were interested in exactly what we were about and what we wanted,’ says Rhett. ‘M+F sat with us for hours to develop an understanding of who we are, what we do and how we operate. It was an investigation, as to how our business operates. You need to understand the people first.’
‘There was back and forth between the teams with regards to sizing, measurements, materials and specifications, however, we never saw that as a conflict, or irritation. It was adjust, accommodate, find the solution and get the job done, right until the day we moved in. Everything was on time and as planned, we were moved in on the 1st of September, with very few minor problems and setbacks.’
An open-plan layout has always worked for the business, enabling open communication and allowing for connection between all employees. At the same time there was a need for a degree of privacy, in the sense that sound should not boom across the open space. M+F was able to meet both needs and although it is more open plan then the previous premises, the space is peaceful and calm.
‘There was lots of discussion, but eventually we got what we wanted,’ says Rhett. ‘When I’m sitting in my office, which is right at the end of the corridor, it's really quiet, almost as if there’s no one there.’
‘A hands-on approach throughout the process is critical,’ says Steven. The delivery of sample desks and other sample products being installed into the workspace made the whole process a lot simpler, allowing the team at Barker to get a real feel of the deliverable, which was a highlight of the process.
The objectives of the new spaces were to bring people together.
The layout allows for a degree of ‘togetherness’ and increased co-operation. The canteen and deck areas are other spaces where the team can come together and engage with each other.
The entire Barkers team was consulted throughout the planning process.
‘We asked the staff for their opinions and thoughts on the new space at each stage,’ says Rhett. ‘The most important element that came out of this research was the staff’s desire for the space to still feel ‘family-like’. We all wanted a ‘home-type’ environment that would support and speak to the company culture – and that’s exactly what the effect of the space has been.’
There is no hierarchy in the space, and it was particularly designed to feel like a family area without any pecking order.
The furniture is mostly natural, wooded colours, which are not ostentatious or over-the-top. They are all earthy, natural and simplistic. In terms of practicality, in the office space and attention to detail was taken into account. It was designed specifically to meet the needs of the company ensuring that every product had its place and added to the functionality and overall feel of the space.
‘The entire M+F customer service experience from the very start to the very end was professional, tailored and perfectly accommodating,’ says Rhett. ‘There is very little I can fault about our new space and the quality of the service. Everything just worked seamlessly.’