In my first year at Bronto, I learned that some clients prefer to communicate via the medium of dog memes, chocolate éclairs have the shortest life span in the kitchen, and no matter where our office is located, Brontos will make it our home.
In preparation for our recent move to the new Bronto office in New Street Square, Chancery Lane, we were tasked with packing up our things and clearing out what had been our home for the last two years. I like to think of myself as a “memory treasurer,” most commonly known as a “hoarder” in the real world. This meant I had a lot of “memories” to sort through. One receipt I came across took me back to our first office in Floral Street, Covent Garden.
We started where all the best start-ups began – in a basement. Our “All Hands Meetings” were quick affairs that consisted of five of us on a sofa and one armchair, a bag of chocolate éclairs lasted more than 20 minutes, and there were copious amounts of snacks.
The small office space did present some challenges. We were essentially working in a petri dish. If someone had a cold, you would be down within the week. With only one meeting room, many meetings were held in a coffee shop in Covent Garden. In one instance, a client and I were balanced precariously on two stalls drinking coffee from a very old machine. I chose not to expense the receipt to reduce the risk that it was sent right back along with my P45, and instead buried it amongst other receipts and papers that made their way to our next office.
It wasn’t long before we outgrew that space, so a new office was located and fitted out. I was lucky enough to see the new residence prior to the move. Stepping out of the lift for the first time, I was able to empathise with Bilbo Baggins on his first excursion out of The Shire. Surely, we would never fill such a space!
Initially, a row of desks was installed along one side and a ping-pong table on the other. I had a great spot overlooking the Crossrail construction, which was developing just as fast as we were hiring. It wasn’t long until Big Mama, one of our inflatable mascots, was relocated and the desks filled up.
Within six months of moving to Farringdon, all the desks were full. And within a year, the ping-pong table had to be packed up to make space for the ever-growing Bronto Europe team. As you can imagine, the ping-pong enthusiasts harboured some resentment for a while.
As with any expanding organisation, we suffered a few more growing pains. There were more people to share snacks with, the chocolate éclairs had a reduced life span of 10 minutes, and for one of my colleagues, the collateral damage he felt was the quick decline in Diet Cokes. It was soon time for another move.
Almost two years to the day, I packed up my desk to move to our third home. On moving day, we unpacked within an hour and took on the important task of inflating Brontos and placing them wherever there was a gap.
Three years and three offices later, we have grown from a team of five to a family of 35. And I’ve learned that even through extensive growth and an acquisition, Brontos keeps their core values close at heart … and their chocolate éclairs even closer.