The Business Pharmacy: Greg Lavery

Want to know real-life founders' recipes for success? Look no further than our Business Pharmacy, where entrepreneurs share their 'prescription' for prosperity.

Greg Lavery is Rype Office's Managing Director. Rype Office creates stylish and sustainable office furniture that's affordable.

Greg Lavery

Hi Greg! Tell us, how do you start your day?

I read the news while eating breakfast; it's a great way to kick off the day. I use a cool app called Inkl (founded by a friend of mine) which compiles news from around the world into a brief format, particularly topics that are important to me, like climate change.

What fuels you and your team?

Our team is passionate about creating a better future. Humans have done a lot of damage and so we need to find better ways to do things. For example, our number one hiring criteria is a dedication to sustainability.

This means that everyone knows why they come to work every day, and that success is measured along a lot more dimensions than just money (although that is needed too).

We set ourselves the goal of being as sustainable as possible, environmentally and socially, and this means that everyone brings new ideas into the business on a regular basis.

These ideas combine into a differentiated position in the market.

For example, our team's curiosity for more sustainable solutions has led to us partnering with an office electronics remanufacturing company, Reconome, a social enterprise flooring company, Greenstream, and a joinery charity, Merthyr Tydfil Institute for the Blind.

What inspires you?

My greatest inspiration is our team members whose disabilities have led to long term unemployment.

Seeing them develop by providing them with opportunities is heart-warming to watch. Seeing their dedication and hard work, despite difficult pasts, is a real pleasure.

We decided back in 2016 to push for more social value than just creating UK jobs. We did our first project, Public Health Wales Cardiff, with a team of eight local long-term unemployed with disabilities.

They did a great job, with the project winning seven national and international awards. We have continued this approach on projects longer than 3 months in duration (to provide a meaningful period of work) in regional areas around Great Britain. And of course, we pay at least the Real Living Wage.

Rype Office

Thoughts on remote working?

We are flexible about where people work. Our review process looks at how well staff deliver and the values that they exhibit when delivering. Face time is not a big part of our culture. That said, after such a long set of lockdowns, it will be great to be back in a team environment.

Share scheme or no share scheme?

Of course! We have a share scheme for many of our staff.

Fantastic! If you could share one piece of advice on what to avoid, what would it be?

Avoid bad timing. I know this is difficult to do, but in the past, I have worked in (and started) businesses that were way ahead of their time - so they did not thrive.

On the other hand, I have also seen what happens when the timing is perfect.

In Australia, I was asked to start a solar photovoltaic business in 2003. The timing was perfect and we grew to be the market leader in just 3 years. Since then the company has sold over a million solar panels.

What do you do to rest and relax?

I get about 7 hours a night but a lot more on holidays, which are now overdue.

These days, business is very busy and before that Covid was a challenge; lot's of stress the last year or so! Exercise is my release; I enjoy running, road cycling and hockey.

Great stuff. Thanks so much for sharing, Greg.