Shaper: Charlie Green (encore)

Show aired on 14th October 2017


Charlie Green

Charlie Green is co-founder and co-CEO of TOG (The Office Group). Before founding TOG in 2003, he was an Acquisition Manager at MWB Group plc, a property investment and development business.

TOG launched just when technology and new ideas were shaping the global economy, with the aim of reconfiguring the modern British workplace in order to bring it into line with a fast-changing world.

TOG’s vision was ‘to create beautifully designed buildings with a wide variety of spaces, and to offer tenants progressive membership schemes and short-term leases to allow for growth and change’. Today, it has 15,000 members working across 30 buildings, 28 of which are in London. It houses one of the fastest growing and most diverse workforces in Britain, from app creators and advertising agencies; to financiers and foodies.

Follow Charlie on Twitter @CharlieGTOG.

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I am happy, but I am sort of always happy. That’s just fortunate disposition I think.

We set out to challenge the serviced office world as it was: a short-term, expensive, very corporate, vanilla offering. We just couldn’t comprehend why people would want to work in an environment like that.

You don’t need to innovate in such a dramatic way to come up with something nobody has ever done before. If you see something that works but you can do it differently and you can do it better, that’s a pretty good route.

I had heart surgery at 29 and took four months off work. I went back and wasn’t really ready to go back. I had this kind of a shift in my perspective which I was trying to fight because I didn’t want this illness to have changed my life, but it had done.

When you step away from an environment and you come back into it, you have this ability I think to see things with more clarity.

A new private equity funder said Olly needed a property partner, somebody who could handle the real estate side of things. I didn’t have to consider it for a period of time, I didn’t think about it, I just went with it. You have to follow your gut and my gut was screaming.

Olly and I have never doubted what we do. We’ve never had moments of wondering whether or not a building would fill or not fill or be successful or not be successful. It’s never occurred to us. We get the building, we do what we do and we move onto the next one.

We are not aiming for something financially, we are aiming to create beautiful buildings which provide an experience for the people in those buildings so that they want to come to us and they want to stay with us.

We didn’t employ anybody else when we first started and we did every single role in our business. I think it gave us an empathy with the people that work for us now – we understand what we are asking of them because we have done it. We really care.

In many ways we feel like we have just started this business, which is a bit daft given we are fourteen years old. We are committed, we are in. It’s a start-up mentality – we’ve always had it and I hope we never lose it.

I cannot imagine not coming into work. I love what I do and I am challenged every day. I cannot see myself giving that up anytime soon.