An interview with Consortia - Joining DeskLodge in a Pandemic

Jamie Ellis
February 5, 2021
An interview with Consortia - Joining DeskLodge in a Pandemic

Whilst the mulled wine was warming on our traditional (albeit socially-distanced) pre-Christmas minced pie and mulled wine day, Mel, the Centre Manager at DeskLodge House, was able to grab Nathan, the Director of the Consortia Group, for a quick beer to have a chat about how their time with DeskLodge has been since they joined earlier in the year.  

Consortia Group is a recruitment group made up of three brands (Consortia, Becksford Group, and Zeelee) that focus on different areas of recruitment in IT, Finance and Sales & HR, and marketing. You can get in touch with them here.


Nathan & Ryan, the Director’s Cut


How has it been working through the pandemic?

Surprisingly, it has been alright. We’ve had some great partners who have supported us throughout the last couple of months and we’ve had some really decent relationships with clients. People that were paying us late started paying us sooner and everyone’s been helpful and supportive of our businesses. We’ve been really fortunate, compared to a lot of people.

What was it like to join DeskLodge House during Covid times?

Let’s get the HR response ready (laughs)… No, seriously, I think the compliance levels you went to were exceptional and it made everyone feel really safe and I think from an actual human and individual point of view, everyone felt incredibly welcome.

Yeah we’ve had other companies do that before and it’s really worked for them. They’ve said this is what we provide for you – free coffee, free fruit on a Tuesday…

Do you know what it’s not that. That’s not what we’re selling on. We’re selling on you guys. And that’s what’s making the difference. We’ve been places that have offered free food and coffee and all that sort of stuff but it’s not that. It’s the feeling, it’s the atmosphere. And overall, it’s been incredible. We’ve worked in lots of different offices and we’ve worked in lots of different serviced offices and we haven’t found anything that has come close to how seamless the onboarding has been to DeskLodge and now once being a part of it, how quickly we’ve been made to feel part of the community.

Where did you move from? Were you previously working from home?

We moved out of a leased office around March. Some of the issues that came from being in a more formal leased environment is having a landlord who is supplying you with a building and not necessarily supplying you with a community or a feeling or an atmosphere. So, Covid restrictions were seen as something the tenant really needed to be preparing for moreso.

We did have our teams working from home for a while. They found it incredibly difficult. A lot of them are in shared houses. A lot of them don’t have home working set ups. So, the opportunity to use the Hoffice, which gives us the benefit of both worlds - both a structured office space where we can be together as a team, but also to offer people the opportunity to work from the office when they choose too in a hotdesking environment is fantastic - they can come in use the hotdesking space and loads of them do. But the ones who are happy working from home can. So, it’s literally the best of both worlds.


Utilising the breakout area on the office floor


Amazing! So you have a Hoffice. How have you found having a part time office for 3 days a week?

I think the Hoffice setup works really well for us. Specifically because we have people working from home two days a week. The fact that as a business we can offer them a better quality of space at the same pricing point as we had before when we were leased is the massive differentiator. We probably couldn’t afford somewhere this good for the number of people we’ve got if it wasn’t for the Hoffice.

Are your employees happy at DeskLodge?

I mean happy, I would say, is an understatement. We’re utilising the relationship we have with DeskLodge and the space at DeskLodge House, not only to maintain the current levels of staff but also to use it as one the primary ways of recruiting more people into the business. It’s not just about the fabric of the building, it’s about a lot of the people that work here. Everyone’s been made to feel welcome and I couldn’t say enough positives about it.


Celebrating second anniversaries with Consortia in the office


So you feel like everyone is getting what they want? Having more choice in the way that they work?

Definitely. It was a big step coming out of being in a lease space where your office space is yours and then you’re paying for a space where other areas are not just exclusively yours. However, as soon as you recognise that what you’re paying for is access to an entire building and communal areas then actually the cost is much lower than you would otherwise think.

Have you found your employees have utilised coming in to hotdesk?

Yeah absolutely. On a Wednesday and a Friday they are given the opportunity to work from home. And in our industry if people had the chance to work from home no one would dream of going into an office. So the fact that I’ll randomly pop in and we’ve got more than 50% choosing to work from a  hotdesking space, it goes to show that they don’t feel they can do the job working from home.

It shows they’re conscientious right, if they think if I can’t do it properly or easily or very well at home… your team don’t want to be anything but good at their job

There is a massive mental health aspect that comes into all of it. I saw some of the desk setups that some of them had and we did our best to give them desks and chairs, but people can’t always fit a desk and a chair into a bedroom and people are trying to sit there for 10 hours a day doing their job on the corner of a bed. It’s not good enough and at Consortia we really do our best to ensure that our staff are given the very best possible.


Filming in the NASA meeting room at DeskLodge House

As course, as are DeskLodge. Last one - what has been your favourite thing about working at DeskLodge so far?

Do you want this from a Director’s point of view or from a tenant’s point of view? Because there is two really distinct differences and I’ve even been texting people saying about how different it is. There was a day that when we first joined and someone from my team text me saying ‘the fridge is broken’ and I was like ‘oh, no worries, go speak to someone on the front desk’… I thought ‘this is the best day of my life, this is amazing’! If you’ve ever been a tenant of a leased office there is absolutely no question of doubt why working in a serviced environment is better for you because the onus isn’t on you to source and fix every little possible problem

And that just starts eating into your brain space that you’ve got to focus on your business

Yeah! And invariably it happens out of hours. If you’re in the office then you deal with it but when you’re not in the office it’s probably because you’re either off or away and I think the impact it has on the staff having things broken, having things not replaced, having run out of stuff is huge and there is a massive onus on the company to make sure you’re responsible for keeping these things stocked up. I cannot tell you how much happier I am on a day to day basis.

Not having to deal with, or think about…

Do you know, weirdly, it’s not about that. It’s the fact that I know that if there is anything wrong they can get it fixed almost immediately. It’s not up to them to.

And they don’t really have to come to you?

Well, yeah! There is someone onsite who’s responsibility it is to make sure that what they need is delivered. So we’ve had little issues where they’ve been like ‘oh we need to move a desk round, can we add an extra desk?’ It’s like ‘no worries, we’ll sort out a powerbank, we’ll get that cabled up’. It’s the fact that DeskLodge appear to go above and beyond where other serviced offices have fallen down in the past. We just can’t really begin to explain how grateful we are for the service and the overall experience. Honestly, all jokes apart, it’s been wicked!

I know, and I can’t wait for your team to really get involved in the socials and stuff, it’s great you’re here and it works both ways having great people in the building.

I think the thing that my team have all said, the biggest thing about making the move, is that it’s lovely and it’s all really really nice but you guys have made the difference to them. They are loving it!

Thanks Nathan!