Sarah Venn has been running our centre at Weston-super-Mare since it opened its doors a decade ago. We caught up with Sarah to find out more about her role as centre manager, how the space has evolved over the years, and where she’d recommend for a bottomless brunch!
Hi Sarah. So, how long have you worked in the serviced office industry?
I got my very first serviced office job in 1999 and was there for about nine years. A couple of years later I switched to a temporary centre manager role in another serviced office company. Then, after a few months of temping, I joined Pure Offices in Weston and haven’t looked back. I’ve been here for exactly 10 years.
How has the Weston centre changed since you started?
It’s changed a lot from when I first started to now, because when I joined it was still a building site. I’ve literally been here from the very beginning. Decor-wise, it was totally different – I remember the walls being a luminous neon green and orange. Like the other centres, we underwent a huge refurbishment before the lockdown.
What type of businesses call the Weston office home?
At Weston, we have a lot of smaller businesses and startups; usually people take a single office. In terms of industries, we have a few care companies, estate agents, recruiters and counsellors. Sometimes a national company will take a satellite office.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
I enjoy the fact that every day is different but my favourite thing has to be meeting new people – I’ve made some really good friends in my role and I’m still friends with the people I worked with in my previous serviced office jobs. One day working from home is enough for me because I like to be around people.
Our events provide an opportunity for people to get to know each other. They were quiet after the Covid lockdowns but now they’re very well-attended and people like to mix with each other. A few companies have ended up working together too.
What’s your least favourite part of the job?
Health and safety. I was never good at it at the beginning, and although I’ve got through it all now it’s still probably my least favourite bit. But it’s got to be done!
Is your workplace dog-friendly?
Yes. I don’t bring mine but I do let occupiers bring their dogs in as long as there’s no disruption to anyone. (And as long as they come and see me for a treat.) Snoop is one of our resident dogs – he probably gets about three treats a day, bless him.
Being dog-friendly is a selling point, especially since Covid. More people have dogs now and are ready to stop working from home, but their dogs don’t necessarily cope very well with being left on their own. It’s great, I love it – and the dogs are less trouble than the occupiers sometimes!
What do you like to get up to outside of the office?
Spending time with my family. As well as going for walks with the dog, we spend some time in a friend’s caravan down in Devon which is nice. I have groups of friends in different places so I also like socialising…and the odd bottomless brunch!
Do you have any local bottomless brunch recommendations?
Yes, there’s one I went to recently called Scotty’s Lounge in Weston which is brilliant fun and they’re really good on the drinks. They also give you a microphone and you can request songs – it’s a karaoke/drink/eat extravaganza!
We’re having a regional get together in winter: it’ll be Weston, Cheltenham, Portishead and Swindon. I’ve been given the social secretary title and was very nearly contemplating some sort of karaoke brunch, but Rich from Cheltenham phoned me up and was like, “I’m not doing karaoke!”…before I’d even said anything!
And finally, what’s your go-to karaoke song?
It has to be PJ and Duncan ‘Let’s Get Ready to Rumble’.