#Tpastowers is no more
Wednesday 28th of October 2020
So… that’s it….#Tpastowers is no more.
We have packed the last box, given away the last pieces of furniture and argued for the last time about whether we will ever really need those flyers again that we printed in 2009.
Tpas no longer has an office. It’s a strange feeling but an exciting one too.
As our members you may want to know why we have taken this step so let me explain a little more about how we arrived at this situation.
#tpastowers was in fact a small section of the 7th floor of an eight storey building owned by a well known national commercial landlord. In what will be no surprise to anyone, that landlord had decided to sell the building to a property company for, yes you’ve guessed it, conversion into flats. So way back in December 2019 we knew the writing could be on the wall that we would need to move at some point in 2020. We just hoped the sale might fall through and for a while it did stall.
But alas in the early spring the deal was done and we started to make plans to take a new suite in another office block owned by the same landlord – taking the opportunity to reduce our space again. In fact we were heading back to a building we had been many many many years before.
Then Covid changed everything for us, as it has for all of you.
In late March all Tpas staff packed up their pc’s and headed home to work. For a few weeks at most we thought, maybe till the summer at the most…… How naïve that thinking seems now.
As the weeks rolled on and we all adjusted, like many people we found that with abit of investment in the right tech we were managing to work at home absolutely fine, better than before in fact. We all felt energised, more in control of our work day around our families and lifestyles and none of us missed the commute through Manchester traffic or on Manchester’s archaic local trains. We began to imagine a world without a “head office”.
As you would expect from Tpas we consulted on our future plans – relatively easy to do with 10 staff I have to say!. But we were all in agreement that we could make going “officeless” work and that we welcomed the change.
Of course the finances play a huge part here. As a membership organisation I am acutely conscious that my role requires me to deliver the best possible service I can to you, our members. Like any business we should constantly be looking for ways to give you greater value for money. Here was a golden opportunity for us to leave behind a significant amount of office costs and exit our various lease arrangements, for photocopiers etc., with someone else picking up the tab.
All in all – it was a pretty straightforward decision.
And by mid October the deed was done – keys handed back (well technically fobs but that doesn’t sound as good) and Tpas had left the building.
I am not saying we won’t look for something again in the new year when hopefully the world will feel a better place again. I think by spring 2021 we will all be ready to have some shared space again together but it won’t be anything like what we have had before. We won’t expect staff to be in it five days a week for a start. That way of working is gone forever for us I believe.
We will look across Manchester and find collaborative, flexible and cost effective spaces that fit with what Tpas stands for. And we will stay agile so we can focus on putting our money into the things that matter to you as members.
And like any big decision we will keep it under review. But for now it feels absolutely the most sensible thing to have done.
In the meantime, and when local tier restrictions allow, we are looking forward to getting together in a community centre/hotel somewhere regularly so we can be together as a team. That’s important. And we are working hard on getting the “social” side of work right too.
#Tpastowers has always been more of an internal thing for us as staff to use, a shorthand for our shared space and all the fun, tensions, creativity, stresses and team-working that can play out in a shared office. It was always meant tongue in cheek too, wryly poking fun at ourselves using such a large title for such a small team.
The better hashtag we use more is #teamtpas. That’s not about a space. It’s about who we try to be as colleagues and how we see ourselves as an organisation. Tpas is not, nor has ever been, about just the staff who work for it. It’s about our members, our associates, our board members, our clients and our sector partners.
It’s about shared values and a shared purpose.
That doesn’t change even though now we are doing it from our home offices, dining rooms or even our sheds.
We are adapting, we are learning and we are growing.
But my goodness I really miss someone making me a cuppa in the brew run!
Jenny Osbourne, Tpas CEO