It's the people, stupid :)

20 February 2012 | by Rob Greenwood

I had a nice surprise this weekend when I opened the Guardian's work section and found a picture of our office staring back at me! OK, so it wasn't much of a surprise - we'd enjoyed chatting to Tim for a morning last month - but I was quite interested to read what reaction the Graun's traditionally acerbic commenters would have to the article.

One that caught my eye was this comment from yes future:

...It's not the bloody furniture that makes them such successful innovators. IT'S THE PEOPLE, STUPID!

The lesson to take away...isn't "oooh, we should have a water slide", it's "ooooh, we should give our engineers much greater control and autonomy over their work".

That's absolutely true. As I said in response, the office we've created is the embodiment of the control and autonomy that we give our staff. The space was designed by all of us, with our requirements in mind. It's therefore a place that feels comfortable and homely to our team and isn't just some homage to Google.

And in response to some other comments, I just wanted to say something about productivity. For us, customers are our first priority. Dealing with customers servers that often host business-critical sites can be stressful, challenging and definitely requires a hell of a lot of thinking.

All our staff understand this, I trust them to. And - as I said in the article - they hold each other to account if they needed. This is at the heart of how we run our business and that's why we decided to create a workplace that fosters productivity by letting staff blow off steam on the pool table or get work done lying on the beanbags instead of in a cheap office chair if they want to.

And finally, I admit I am a big kid but Melbourne is ultimately a successful and profitable business that turned over £3 million last year. Our staff - or rather, our family - is talented, diverse and eager to do things right by our customers. So we must be doing something right... :)

Daniel K-F, head tea boy @ Melbourne.

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