We spoke to London-based furniture designers Very Good & Proper about their company culture, funky offices, and experiences joining the Timetastic way of life. This is a company that knows how to work hard and rest right.
Measure twice, cut once
As the name implies, Very Good & Proper cater to sharp-eyed design connoisseurs with a taste for both form and function.
Very Good & Proper design and manufacture carefully considered, practical and beautiful products – products built to last using quality materials and craftsmanship. VG&P collaborate with architects, interior designers and furniture dealers around the world, and also sell directly to consumers and businesses.
Led by company director Ed Carpenter and design director André Klauser, they’ve been working together for over 12 years and now lead a design team based in London. They also commission designers for product ranges including Michael Marriott, Ian McIntyre, Felix de Pass and John Tree.
If you have a wander around the Very Good & Proper website (or showroom) you’ll find a beautiful range of seating, tables, storage units, and other accessories. Their signature pieces include the Canteen Table, the Hook & Knob, and the Utility Chair, all first launched at the London Design Festival in 2009. Their products are built for the long-term, and are manufactured responsibly in the UK and Europe before being assembled and checked in-house.
The VG&P company motto is ‘Measure twice, cut once’ - a playful turn on the old carpenter’s phrase that captures their commitment to quality and attention to detail.
VG&P work out of a refurbished pickle & chutney factory that’s been converted to offices for the creative sector. Located close to the Oval Cricket Club south of the River Thames, It still retains the spirit of its previous life, with historical fittings all around (though perhaps not such a tangy aroma anymore). The team enjoy twice-weekly yoga sessions each morning in the studio before getting down to work.
They’re often helped out for the occasional day by their office dog, Lupin, a pointy-eared, peanut-butter-loving pup. When he’s not in the office he still makes his presence known with soggy tennis balls and water bowls left in inconvenient locations. You can find evidence of Lupin’s adventures over at his very own Instagram account (@instalupin).
It sounds like rather a fun place to work.
Taking a seat for Christmas
When they’re not working hard crafting the design world’s next big thing, the VG&P team like to take time off - properly. Management encourage all staff to take their full leave allowance, and the company usually shuts down completely between Christmas and New Year to allow everyone that all-important family time (at Timetastic, that’s just what we like to hear).
Many companies do this and there are plenty of benefits for those that do. Taking time off improves team morale and employee health, meaning a sense of refreshment and increased productivity when they return. As well as this, many partners and suppliers will be away anyway so you won’t be communicating as much, and company overheads will be lower because the office won’t need power and heat if nobody's around.
And of course, due to the way the calendar days fall, it can often work to give a nice continuous time off. In 2019, you’ll be able to take Christmas Day to New Year’s Day off (inclusive) and only use 3 days of leave, as there’s a weekend inbetween. Result!
Organising time off with Timetastic
To organise their employee absences, the company initially did things manually, according to Studio Manager Stéphanne:
"The company were using spreadsheets to track holidays and sickness. When I joined the company, I wanted to tighten this up a bit and found myself having to look in many different places to check details were correct and that people had the correct outstanding holiday and found a few errors. I thought that there must be something out there that is less fallible and puts more control in the employee's hands."
After searching for an easier alternative for their absence management, they found Timetastic in July 2018, and the rest is history.
Initially, VG&P were already going in the right direction by avoiding paper-based absence management (which can be an organisational & environmental nightmare). However, the spreadsheet system didn’t have an official request or approval system, so it was difficult to prove whether or not holiday had actually been taken. This means tracking things over time, seeing trends, and managing workforce numbers wasn’t as simple as it could have been.
The implementation of Timetastic for their 21 employees was a success:
"Everyone thought it was a great system and an improvement on what we had before."
And we’re please to note Stéphanne thinks it’s worth recommending:
"Go for it. It’s so easy to use and the customer support has been faultless."
Whether it’s a Lupin Sofa, an Oval Armchair, or an MT Lounge Chair, looking at Very Good & Proper’s line-up of superb furniture gets us in the mood for a comfy sit down every time.
Their clean and minimal sense of elegance is one we admire. And their environmental credentials aren’t bad either: they use materials which are sustainably-sourced and designed to break down easily for straightforward replacement and recycling.