This week we sat down with Holger Arians, CEO of Banxa. This Australian-founded company has created a payment services platform for cryptocurrencies and is experiencing significant growth within an industry that is itself growing rapidly.
In searching for a new workplace to accommodate this growth, the company was clear in its intention to stay in Cremorne where like-minded businesses within the industry could be close by. BRM has been involved from the early stages of the project, from search and property strategy, to the design of the new premises, handover of the old premises and relocation. This end to end service was delivered within a tight timeframe, against the backdrop of lockdowns and COVID.
Our Q&A with Holger Arians offers a glimpse into the experience and what it was like to deliver a project of this nature against the backdrop of a global pandemic.
Banxa is responsible for some groundbreaking work within the cryptocurrency world and you’ve experienced some significant growth in recent years. What role does your workspace play in all of this?
Our workspace plays a huge role in the culture of Banxa and how we work together as a team to get things done quickly in a supportive environment. Having an office where people can come to and collaborate and move around freely was important to us from the start.
We didn't want it to feel stuffy or sterile. "Lived in and used" was the idea. We love how open it is and how many different breakout areas there are to collaborate in or hide away on a call if needed.
In total, we have 7 meeting rooms of various sizes including 2 zoom style rooms decked out in all blue to have the best zoom experience possible and 2 phone booths for private conversations or solo meetings.
The kitchen area is open and airy and you can watch people having fun playing ping pong while you are having lunch. We also have a quiet room where you can go and relax and have a power nap if you need. A positive work environment really does create a positive team atmosphere.
Your new workspace was found, designed, and delivered by BRM at the height of the COVID pandemic. Can you tell us about some of the challenges that arose during 2021 and how you approached them with the BRM team?
We saw many issues arise thanks to COVID. The main problem we found was delivery dates being pushed back due to the lack of shipments arriving in Australia.
Another issue that came up was isolation, quarantine and covid safe rules around how many people could be on-site at any one time. These combined factors pushed the handover date back multiple times without any way of correcting the issues.
Luckily for us, we had the BRM team to make sure once things opened up again progress continued.
Throughout the building process, Victoria went into two lockdowns with multiple restrictions throughout that time period.
Walkthroughs were not possible so we had to rely heavily on Maya and the team to relay the information back to us. We are thankful to BRM for their support and continuous communication.
What are you loving about the new space? Was there something that drew you to this particular building?
This building was a brand new construction and that appealed to the startup in us. Start from scratch and see what it ends up looking like.
Blank walls and a nearly gutted canvas meant we could design the space for Banxa from the start. Having a gym on-site and parking was also a draw for us. Cremorne is a great location and Banxa started just around the corner from our current office. We haven't moved far but we have definitely grown.
Looking forward, how do you see Banxa’s workspace? What will set it apart from other players in the crypto field?
Our workspace is 100% adaptable for the future. With the way people are working now, working from home most days, we won't run out of space anytime soon.
Our office can be made into a corporate environment as well as party central. It is evolving as we evolve but the base of the office is modern enough to develop with us. As a global company, finding a balance between a head office and a global remote team can be challenging The office acts as a home base for our team, allowing them to collaborate in person and remotely with ease.
The flexibility built into the new office space works well for a team based around the world as well as in Melbourne, by meeting not only the needs of those working in the office but the wider remote team as well.
Finally, can you describe the overall experience with BRM in delivering this project?
BRM, Maya, and Jacqui all did an amazing job to understand our style and make it happen.
Starting out meeting the team and having weekly collaborative design meetings really helped cement the relationship and brief for the design. Having people that know what they are doing and guiding us through the process was priceless and we ended up with a truly personal and usable space for BANXA.
Covid and all of the issues that arose from it meant working under really strenuous circumstances but the BRM team made it happen and being able to have the whole BANXA team enjoy the space is fantastic.
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