How a romance and a sea change led to the operations of a Sydney-based global company being located on the Sunshine Coast.
Headquartered in Sydney, OfficeHQ virtual reception services were launched in October 2004 using an in-house built VOIP platform, a few developers, a small number of receptionists and a client service manager. When things got busy, David Atkinson, CEO and founder, helped out answering the phones!
David was passionate about using the best technology and the best people to deliver virtual reception solutions that benefitted businesses of all sizes. As a business owner himself, David knew business owners wanted high quality, robust, professional solutions which made managing their businesses (and lives!) easier. David also understood the challenges of managing cash flow, suppliers, growth and quiet periods. Safeguarding business reputation was paramount. Having fun every now and then was also important!
From Day 1, David decided OfficeHQ answering solutions would be subscription-based only, without any lock-in contracts. Terms and conditions would be transparent. Client service would be responsive, efficient and friendly. As the voice of our clients’ businesses, all virtual receptionists would be Australian-based to ensure important details such as accent, tone and pronunciation flowed naturally. Virtual receptionists would answer clients’ calls using a professional, friendly manner and always be mindful of and respect our clients’ business reputations.
Today David has grown the business to more than 120 receptionists – the majority of which are based on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland. Global operations were launched in the US in 2007 and in the UK in 2011. OfficeHQ virtual reception solutions will launch in New Zealand in 2018. We’ve served more than 25,000 customers, all via our robust, cloud-based, technology platform which is constantly being enhanced by our in-house, very talented IT team.
How did a Sydney-based company end up with operations on the Sunshine Coast?
The original OfficeHQ team was small and close-knit. Ashley van Gerven our Software Development Manager built the original VOIP platform with David and is still with us today.
Work-life balance, flexibility, innovation and doing things differently to make things better is important to David. This is reflected in OfficeHQ’s company values – ‘Be Human, Be Brave, Be Your Best Self, Be Curious, Be Part Of It’. In 2006 our Client Service Manager at the time announced she was engaged to be married and was moving to… Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast!
David didn’t want to lose her, so hatched a plan. OfficeHQ headquarters would remain in Sydney, however the contact centre and training facilities would move to the Sunshine Coast. David says, “Our people and technology are the core of our business. We’re always on the lookout for better ways to do things and innovate.” David also knew it was a fantastic opportunity to create jobs in a regional area.
In June 2006 the OfficeHQ Contact Centre and Training Facility officially opened on the Sunshine Coast.
Has the sea change trend to the Sunshine Coast continued?
Yes, it has!
Debbie says “I love living here! It’s given me a more relaxed work-life balance.” She adds, “And the weather! It’s always warm. I do not miss the cold of Sydney in winter!”
Ryan says, “I holidayed on the Sunshine Coast with my family for years, so we all feel very lucky to now call the Coast home! I’ve been really impressed with the vibrant business community I’ve come to know since moving here.”
Luisa Di-Finizio, our Global Head of Contact Centres, joined OfficeHQ in May 2018 and is also based on the Sunshine Coast. Originally from Scotland, Luisa says, “I have the opportunity to do a job I love and live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, what a magical combination.”
OfficeHQ General Management, IT, Client Services, Sales and Marketing team members continue to be headquartered in Sydney. There are currently no (known!) plans for other Sydney team members to relocate to Maroochydore.
Debbie says “They don’t know what they’re missing out on!”
David says, “Establishing operations on the Sunshine Coast all those years ago was a big step and the right step. To now be recognised as a Finalist in the 2018 Sunshine Coast Business Awards is such an honour. I’m so proud of the entire team.” He adds, “We’ve come a long way since 2006 through using cutting-edge technology and the best people possible.”
Sunshine Coast Business Awards Chair Jennifer Swaine said, “It is fantastic and humbling to see firsthand the high calibre, innovative and progressive business community we have here at the thriving Sunshine Coast.”
David says, “I’m excited about what the future will bring. My vision is for OfficeHQ to be the global leader in providing superior virtual reception services.”
When will the Winners of the 2018 Sunshine Coast Business Awards be announced?
Award Winners will be announced at the Awards Gala on the 17th November.
David says, “It would be great to win an award on the 17th November, but I honestly feel with the people we have, the tech we’ve developed and continue to enhance, what we’ve achieved and where we’re headed, OfficeHQ is already a team of winners.”