Scots health tech firm unveils showpiece workplace
An exciting Scots health tech firm has invested £4m in a state-of-the-art new HQ to rival the best that Silicon Valley can offer.
Emblation staff will start a phased move next month into the stunning new offices in Stirling, where its growing staff of more than 60 UK-based employees will have access to a gym, games room, sauna and bike rides round a network of scenic cycle paths.
The bosses say the opening is a huge milestone for the firm, which has seen major investment and rapid global expansion thanks to the success of its Swift device, which has transformed the treatment of stubborn skin lesions. More than 300,000 treatments have been carried out globally.
Its radical microwave technology is also being trialled as a potential treatment for conditions including cervical cancer and skin cancer – and the new base also marks a step change in production of its devices, bringing manufacturing in-house.
Gary Beale, who serves as CEO of the firm, has been heavily involved in the planning and project management of the revamp.
He said: “We’re beyond excited about completing our new HQ. It can’t come quickly enough for the team. We’ve worked really hard to create a space where we hope it will be inspiring, enjoyable and rewarding to come to work.”
Gary co-founded the company alongside Eamon McErlean, who met during their post-graduate studies at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, were determined to remain in Scotland, so the new complex also boasts a 90-person auditorium where staff and industry leaders from around the world will come together.
Gary added: “In our sphere, America is the place to be, so it would have been the easiest thing in the world for us to set up our headquarters in the US. However, we were determined to retain the strongest possible Scottish identity.
The business was created here in Scotland and we want to reflect the huge talent in this country, while also putting something back into the local economy of Central Scotland.”
Design work for the new HQ was delivered by the eminent Glasgow architecture and interior specialist, Keppie Design over an 18-month project alongside the Alloa-based main contractor Neil Porteous Building Contractors.
Founded almost 15 years ago, Emblation saw an eight-figure cash injection from specialist health care investors Apposite Capital in 2021 that drove rapid global growth with the acquisition of a distribution company to form Emblation US as well as the setup of new companies under the Emblation umbrella in Canada and Germany and expansion into more than 20 other countries.
Meanwhile headcount more than doubled, prompting the need for bigger offices as it outgrew its Alloa base. The new premises covers over 20,000 sq ft across two floors at Castle Business Park, with the move partly supported by Scottish Enterprise Regional Selective Assistance funding.
Emblation’s leadership team hope the new offices will encourage cross-communication among traditionally separate teams in clinical research, engineering and sales & marketing, while also bolstering staff recruitment and retention.
Gary said: “There is huge cognitive diversity in our business and the key to our success is having our people mix, interact and meet face-to-face. That is incredibly powerful and it is why we are so keen to create a workplace where people want to come, rather than working from home.”
The firm also believes that for many employees, remote working can be isolating and that travelling to a physical office can actually improve work-life balance and mental health. The new HQ has an unrelenting focus on health and well-being. On the upper floor, a 2500sq ft wing has been given over to socialising and well-being.
It includes a large communal kitchen area and a dedicated gaming suite, which also includes a pool table. Meanwhile a gym area includes treadmills, Peloton bikes, rowing and elliptical machines and a large floor space for weight training or yoga. A sauna is also available.
An innovative move includes the transformation of a corridor into a sealed, sound-proofed and low-lit chill out space, complete with lounging sofas and soft seating, where employees can relax.
However, productivity remains the major focus with open-plan work areas featuring a host of flexible meeting and working spaces. There are also a host of dedicated quiet work spaces, including windowless offices which are completely free of distractions.
A 2500 square feet space on the upper floor is dedicated to a board room, two major meeting rooms and a number of other meeting areas. Throughout the building – particularly in the auditorium – there is a focus on hi-tech screens and AV equipment.
Gary is also proud of the thought which has gone into the exterior of the building. Raised planting beds and extensive grassy areas have been created where staff can make the most of the outdoor space and the stunning vista capturing neighbouring Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument.
Extensive electric vehicle charging points are also available. A key feature is the provision of free-to-access bikes for staff to relax by taking cycle rides around the nearby network of cycle paths. Sustainability measures include intelligent low-energy LED lighting, heating and ventilation systems.
A crucial element of the new HQ is the 4000 square feet production area, with the firm bringing manufacturing of its devices in-house, previously being outsourced from various global locations.
Gary added: “Manufacturing is not a sector which has been faring well in the UK over recent years, so bringing production back to Scotland and centralising our production at Emblation House will have a significant impact in reducing our carbon footprint – something we are very proud of.”