Wednesday 18th January 2017 – Serial entrepreneur Chris Morling has re-invested £3 million to create the ultimate workspace for his team as part of his mission to make Cirencester-based independent comparison website money.co.uk the best place to work in the South West.
The Victorian castle, which is headquarters for his growing team of 50, now offers a range of on-site luxuries such as a Star Wars-themed cinema complete with popcorn machine. The redesign incorporates a series of individually themed high-tech offices which run throughout the building as well as ‘Rolling Stones’ and ‘Steam Punk’ bathrooms. The money.co.uk team were asked for input on their ideal office before the designs for the revamp were created; their feedback guided the castle re-design, enabling MD Chris to create their perfect workspace.
Designed by Interaction, a Bath based design and build specialist, and locally based designer and TV personality Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen the 10,000 square foot castle is now fit for the kings and queens of tech. Each room has been developed with its own unique theme to keep staff engaged and energised with meeting rooms including an ice cave, ski lodge and library with a ‘secret passage’ which you can see in our video of the castle here.
Each room is fitted with the latest state-of-the-art technology to create optimised workspaces; this includes:
- A 98 inch screen
- 30 x TV screens all linked to a HDMI matrix
- 52 x SONOS speakers
- iPads in every room to control the SONOS speakers
- In built video conferencing
- A 7.2 surround sound system with HD projector and subwoofer built into tier seating
- the latest customisable lighting
- super-efficient advanced AC systems
The historic grade two listed Castle, which is a local landmark and part of the Bathurst Estate, has been sympathetically restored as part of the project. The building presented new challenges as the revamp unfolded, including the need to address severe damp issues throughout. It’s now preserved for future enjoyment – an important aim of the project.
The comparison website, which was ranked the second fastest growing business in the UK in 2015, offers employees much more than just a state of the art office space. money.co.uk has been independently recognised as one of the best places to work in the UK. The team enjoy an all-expenses-paid mini break abroad each year to destinations such as Florida, New York, Budapest, Dubrovnik and Copenhagen.
Chris Morling has pledged to donate 10% of all company profits to charity and staff get 3 days off a year to volunteer for charitable causes. When it comes to bonuses, employees have received an annual boost of up to 45% in recent years alongside £5,000 to donate to a charity of their choice – totalling up to a quarter of a million each year.
The money.co.uk team is treated to free breakfast, flexible start times, monthly socials both in the evening and at lunchtime and weekly beers to celebrate an early finish every Friday. The castle boasts a free onsite weights gym and cardio studio and staff also enjoy free weekly games of basketball and football which Chris Morling enjoys getting involved in. There is also an arcade machine, pool table, table football and a PS4 for entertainment.
Chris Morling, Founder and Managing Director of money.co.uk comments: “You spend half your working life in the office and I wanted to create a motivating, uplifting environment which gave my team flexibility and encouraged collaboration. Looking after your team is paramount and it’s really important I give them the best of everything. Ultimately my team are my most valuable asset.
“When I first decided to build my business outside of London I knew recruitment was going to be tricky. Eight years on, I’m lucky enough to have built a team of 50 best in class individuals and I still interview every candidate. In the next year, my search for the kings and queens of tech will be ongoing as I plan to grow my team by a further 20%. Thankfully the Castle gives me the space to do this and it’s a really cost effective choice if you compare it to 10,000 square foot of space in London.
“An amazing physical environment is just a small piece of the jigsaw when you’re creating a great place to work. When your team truly feel valued and their opinions are listened to they feel empowered and that’s worth far more than any of the perks and benefits we offer. The castle redesign is not at the core of my mission to create the best place to work, it’s simply the icing on the cake.”
Dieter Wood, Managing Director of Interaction says: “We knew this project was going to be special when we sat down with Chris Morling in the beginning. He was 100% focussed on creating the perfect environment for his team by transforming the building into a remarkable and unique workspace that breaks the boundaries of corporate normality.”
money.co.uk also launched its latest advertising campaign this month, fighting back against its competitors ‘You haven’t checked until you’ve checked with money.co.uk’. The 30 second ad illustrates the importance of checking after all, the world belongs to those that check.
Fun facts about the castle redesign
Q: How much cable is used throughout the castle? A: 12.5 Miles
Q: How many carpet tiles were used? A: 3,000
Q: How many people were involved in the refurb? A: 150
Q: How many electricity sockets are in the castle? A: 275
Q: How many dishwashers are in the Castle? A: 5
Q: How many fridges does the Castle have? A: 8
Q: What’s the most unique, bespoke aspect of the design? A: The Ice Cave
Q: What was the biggest challenge A: Ensuring we always remained sympathetic to the heritage of the building and the layout. Getting the 98 inch screen into the Castle.
Q: What was the most expensive element of the design? A: The oak staircase we installed outside the back of the building to restore a feature that was taken away years ago.