Robert Phillips, Jackie Cooper PR
'For the past two years, we have been trapped in Office Move Hell. At the time of writing, we are (finally) on the verge of exchanging contracts - and then we will move in six weeks. What have I learnt? One, that there appears to be a direct correlation between increasingly cramped office conditions and fertility rates among our teams. We have had more pregnancies this year than ever before. Two, that office managers are in cahoots with the property agents. Re-working the office layout every month offers them a great opportunity to draw breath through their teeth and then tut a lot. Finally, that we never want a landlord, landlord's agent, or a chartered surveyor (a.k.a. an estate agent) as a client. After all, you have to believe in the brand that you sell.'
Philip Dewhurst, Shandwick
'We're very, very tight for space at the moment. There seems to be pressure on meeting rooms in particular. A PR firm chief executive these days has to be a property expert as well. Following our merger with Weber, we'll be looking at moving into a single office. This has obvious benefits, such as reducing costs. We need to be in central London, and we think Clerkenwell is a great location. It combines a City feel with the buzz of a West End location. Whatever happens, we will consult our staff on what environment they want to work in.'
Adrian Wheeler, GCI
'There is never really a lack of office space. There is only reluctance to pay the extortionate rents which infest the market when demand is strong. PR firms are usually small to medium-sized companies which, at present, are growing fast. They exist in exactly the same niche as new economy firms, many of which are under no obligation to make a profit. Hence the competition and gruesome prices. Public relations consultancies seem to inhabit premises at the two extremes of the spectrum. Either, like Citigate Dewe Rogerson, they are found in marbled halls resembling the Assassins' idea of paradise - acres of comfortable divans, an impression of cool streams, occasional glimpses of breathtakingly beautiful attendants - or like GCI, each desk is occupied by a human pyramid. At GCI we turn overcrowding into a point of difference: 'Our teams all work closely together'.'
David Pincott, Pirate Communications
'There's certainly pressure for decent office space. We need to move soon and some of the potential places we've seen need a visit from Rentokil's SAS division before we'd risk moving in. Sharing with non-related companies could be the answer. We've shared with a City trading firm since we set up shop and it's been great fun. However, we need to expand further and there's no more room. So, as well as donning our protective clothing to look for our own offices, we're also considering deals with other City firms who are moving in order to expand. Fit young agency seeks gilt-edged banker for live-in relationship?'