Wizu Workspace founder Tom Almas.
Jane Imrie

Bdaily Festive Focus 2020: Wizu Workspace founder Tom Almas wants us all to keep “a sense of humour” this Christmas

In the second piece of our festive focus series, Bdaily chatted with Wizu Workspace founder Tom Almas about adapting to a new working world, coming through adversity and Christmas contentment.

How has 2020 changed the way that you live, work, and think?

“Prior to 2020 Wizu Workspace has grown very fast, starting in 2016 with 20,000 sq ft in Leeds and Bradford and now managing over 140,000 sq ft of workspace. I had become used to a very hectic pace of life.

“2020 was a very unexpected speed bump but has given me the chance to come up for air. While the business has still grown we’ve had to view progression more broadly. I’ve had the opportunity to work more deep in the business driving forward new ideas, honing operations and refining the brand.

“More flexibility for our clients has also been key. We’ve taken a long term view, allowing people in difficulty to pause memberships or adjust payment terms while working with them to help secure grants.

“All our shareholders and directors are close to the business so making fast decisions and being ultra flexible has been of great value to our members.”

What has been your single biggest challenge and how have you overcome it?

“The office market has been hit hard by the pandemic. I do believe however flexible workspace is the future but staying mentally resilient to the immediate impact on the business has been tough.

“I have been deliberate about being disciplined with my thoughts reminding myself that true character is who you are in adversity not who you are when everything is going your way.”

What has been the biggest unexpected positive to come out of this year?

“I have two young boys and having the opportunity to spend so much time with them has been lovely. During homeschooling we uncovered talents they have that I’m not sure we would have recognised otherwise.

“I also bought a lot of home gym equipment before everywhere ran out and have managed to get a lot fitter.”

What does your ideal Christmas look like?

“Catching up with friends and family who I haven’t seen all year. Good food, relaxing and just being content!”

How do you think people and businesses can support each other during 2020’s festive season?

“Stay positive and have a sense of humour. Laugh about things and don’t give people a hard time, everyone is battling this situation in one way or another. Businesses should try to be flexible and supportive towards one another.

“Continue to work together as much as possible. Recently a competitor started emailing our clients, I contacted them and said, seriously? Please don’t be that person.”

What does 2021 look like for you and your business?

“There’s no doubt that the way forward is going to be a more hybrid way of working. Businesses will seek more flexibility in respect of where and how they work. We want to be at the forefront of this and provide ultra flexible creative options.

“We are seeing growth in our business from mid and large corporates taking space who are de-densifying head offices. This is an exciting opportunity for us.

“We will continue to innovate and remain committed to our plan to roll out more workspaces across the North of England.”

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