Roger Thomas joined the Pure Offices team back in 2009. After 12 years of looking after customers and helping the company grow, Roger is set to retire in January 2022. Before saying adieu, we thought we’d catch up with Roger to reflect on his career and find out how he plans to spend his well earned retirement.
Pure Offices: Hi Roger! Why have you decided to retire?
Roger Thomas: It’s something my wife and I have been talking about for some time. We were supposed to travel to New Zealand in 2020 and didn’t end up going, for obvious reasons! My wife said to me, “we’re getting closer to 70. In a few years time we might not be up for a long haul flight to New Zealand, so perhaps it’s time to think about retiring.”
So, after talking to our two children and great debate, that’s what we decided to do.
I told Katie, Pure Offices’ Operations Director, in May.
I couldn’t have just given notice and walked away, mainly because Pure Offices have been so supportive of me. I’m happy to ease my way out to support the new Centre Manager rather than go with a bang. So that’s why I’m still here on a part-time basis and (more importantly) still enjoying it.
Pure Offices: When did your journey with Pure Offices begin?
Roger Thomas: I joined Pure Offices on 1 July 2009. I was hired to support and run the Leamington Spa centre, which opened a few months later in October. I worked part-time originally and really enjoyed it, but I wanted a bit more to get my teeth into and realised that the role really required full-time input.
So I began supporting the Leamington centre full-time and got involved with preparing for the opening in October. It just steamrolled from there really, to the point where I became responsible for Leamington Spa, Warwick, Oldbury, Swindon and Cheadle.
I’ve honestly loved every minute of it. I love the people, I love the clients. I love helping the Centre Managers out at the different centres and it’s just a joy to work in this sort of environment.
Pure Offices: Where did you work before joining Pure Offices?
Roger Thomas: I ran car component manufacturing plants for 25 years before joining Pure Offices. Ultimately, I ran Siemens’ European automotive operation. Before that I worked for General Motors and other large suppliers of components to the motor industry. It was a very full-on job because I’d be supplying plants overseas, not just in Europe, but in North and South America too. My daughter was about to get married, my son was going off to university and I thought, you know what, this is a bit too much right now.
The opportunity at Pure came up and I didn’t look back.
Pure Offices: Has Pure Offices’ customer base changed over the years?
Roger Thomas: I remember when Nick Smith (the previous MD) and I first started talking about what Pure Offices might look like. We thought that it’d attract start up businesses and SMEs only. Although a lot of start ups and SMEs call Pure Offices home, we’ve also attracted some big multinationals – Ernst and Young are at Leamington Spa, for example.
Our retention period is just over three and a half years. We originally thought occupiers would move out and opt for a longer-term lease after a year, but that hasn’t happened in a lot of cases.
Pure Offices: Do you have any standout memories of your time at Pure Offices?
Roger Thomas: It’s really hard to pick individual things out. The overall thing that sticks out in my mind is how kind people have been. I had my 60th birthday five years ago and the team threw a lunchtime party for me. Things like that show people care. Pure has organised a big event for my retirement on the 13th. What more can you ask for?! I’ve had lots of fun working here. You wouldn’t believe me if I said every single day has been great, but I can count the stressful days on one hand which isn’t bad for 12 years!
Pure Offices: Are you going to be watching lots of football when you retire?
Roger Thomas: Yes. Everyone at Pure knows I’m a Leicester City supporter! I’ve been watching them for well over 50 years now and I’ve got friends who I still go with. I enjoy the football itself but also the journey there, getting something to eat and dissecting the game on the journey home.
Pure Offices: If you had to give your successor one piece of advice, what would it be?
Roger Thomas: It would be to work hard to get to know your clients and take care of their demands. If you’ve got that rapport with them they’re more likely to stay longer.
If something goes wrong in their office or in the centre as a whole, deal with it. Even if you can’t deal with it today, tomorrow, or the next day, just keep people informed as to what you’re doing and that will help build trust. If you’ve built a good relationship, clients will understand that you’re doing all you can. We can teach anybody the administrative side of things in terms of managing spreadsheets and reporting. Teaching people how to build relationships is more challenging.
Pure Offices: Finally, what are your retirement plans?
Roger Thomas: My wife and I have a lovely close-knit family – our daughter and son both have children and we all go away together which is fantastic. I’m an active person who likes playing golf and I run 5k every day. Even though I’ll be retired, I’ll hopefully still be doing a bit of cover and consultancy work for Pure every now and again too.
There’s also our trip to New Zealand, of course. We’ll probably spend a month or so there, starting at the top of the North Island and working our way down from there.