On a break with… Jamie Rothwell, the managing director of office storage innovator Hotbox
In a new online series, we interview designers, strategists and other innovators in the world of workplaces. Here we meet the founder of Hotbox, an office storage solution designed for agile working.
How and when did Hotbox begin?
Hotbox started in 2002, after I’d been working in the commercial interiors market for 10 years. I had witnessed the start-up of call centres which needed to be very flexible workplaces where everyone could be sat at a different place every day or shift. This created an issue about personal storage in personal pedestals – this was pre-lockers time – which posed an issue when people were rotating around a space. It wasn’t a practical solution.
At the time the industry thought attaching a dog-lead to a mobile pedestal was the answer. However, this was impossible to move easily, was bulky and not a flexible solution. My background was in product design and I thought to myself there must be a better solution than this. Hotbox was born. Basically, from a desire to identify a solution so people had the work tools they needed on a daily basis. Office furniture companies thought I was bonkers – that a pedestal was sufficient enough – but at that point I was determined to pursue my idea and make it work.
Discover other ways to seize the benefits of agile working
What inspires Hotbox?
Hotbox gets its inspiration by talking to our customers. We ask them what their challenges are to inform our design process.
What was it about agile working that interested you?
I’d always worked in the commercial interiors market and I’d always been drawn to creating solutions to make people’s lives at work easier. Agile working is also reflective of my personality. I’ve never really worked in a conventional, ‘stuck-at-your-desk’ role. People thrive on flexibility and that’s why agile working is important to me.
What did you aim to achieve with Hotbox?
The core themes are personalisation, organisation and mobility. But we also place precedence on individuality; three people might be in the same job but they will all work differently. And we create products to reflect this. We want to equip them with the practical solutions to help them work the way they instinctively work.
You currently sell three versions of the Hotbox plus Origins. Are there more Hotbox products in the pipeline?
We are extending the range of Hotbox 3 accessories and looking at different sizes for Hotbox 1 to extend the range.
What have been some of the most famous companies to have implemented your products into their offices?
Amazon, LinkedIn, eBay, Google, Amex – the list really is endless!
Is there a particular company you would like to target with your products?
We are branching into the North American market so that is our current target. It’s fascinating to see how our products work within different working cultures and that is our motivation.
Generally speaking, which brands, companies or entrepreneurs inspire you?
People who are disruptors like myself and challenge the norm: the people who created AirBnb, Nike. You have to have that determination – Hotbox is a 15 year overnight success story!
Who are some of your favourite designs/designers/artists?
Frank Lloyd Wright, Adrian Newey and Jony Ive.
What do you think is the future of the office? Do you think agile working is the future of the office or just one facet of it?
On the one hand I see agile as the future, reflecting the next generation of workers. Everyone respects the flexibility agile working brings. In that sense I see it as the future. Yet on the other hand, a few surveys have indicated the next generation of employees want their own designated desk. I think we need to explicate why this is the case. In part, it is because some companies make the decision to adopt agile working but don’t really attend to all the nuances within this transition. And this needs to change. We want to continue to implement agile working solutions to make people’s lives at work easier.
Grab a copy of the next issue of OnOffice for a more in-depth look at Hotbox Storage Ltd.
OnOffice sits down with the founder of agile working storage solution provider Hotbox Storage Ltd.