To be honest, some of us have a love-hate relationship with our open office environment at Vehr Communications.
On one hand, it’s hard to imagine a day going by without the daily conversations and fits of laughter that have little to do with client work that also have become an integral part of the “younger section” of the office.
On the other hand, when work needs to be done before a deadline hits or a client is trying to seek advice over the phone while a conversation about last night’s Bachelor episode is going on across the office, it’s not always the most productive or useful.
A simple Google search for “open office environment” returns the following results:
- Google got it wrong. The open-office trend is destroying the workplace (Washington Post)
- To Work, Open Offices Needs To Be A Little Less Open (The Huffington Post)
- 9 Reasons That Open-Space Offices Are Insanely Stupid (Inc.)
- Why Your Open Office Workspace Doesn’t Work (Forbes)
But the thing is, our open office workspace does kind of work. Sure, there are days when I really wish my coworker’s laugh was a little quieter and less distracting or I didn’t have to turn up my own music to drown out the conversation about Grammy nominations – and “did you see her dress??” – but there are other days when I’ll be the one laughing like a hyena or talking about the drama between Kim and Kanye. So, there’s a sort of balance behind it all.
Beyond increased pop culture knowledge, working mere feet from each other has also generated our most creative ideas.
Need a catchy headline? Ask the team what they think about when they consider business success in terms of airplane clichés. Want to figure out the percentage change month over month but can’t remember the equation? Someone else will pull out their calculator to help. A word you want to use is on the tip of your tongue, but you can’t think of what it is? Someone else will help you piece it together until you’ve come up with a great sentence to include in your article.
Even ideas born and molded in meetings or mulled over with clients become what they were always meant to be when we ask for the opinions of our colleagues.
One of the best parts about working at Vehr is the culture. It’s subtle, but it is always there – the camaraderie and the quick conversations, the pranks, the inside jokes, the fact that whether we are putting together a puzzle or playing a game of Scrabble on the side throughout the day, we can find a way to make it a competitive sport. It’s what makes our office a family, and I wouldn’t trade that for a workspace of my own any day of the week.
In fact, I firmly believe the openness of our office is what makes our team so smart. It’s practically a metaphor for the way ideas are accepted around here. Whether you’re an intern or the vice president of content strategy, your idea matters. And we’re all here to support your idea and make it the best it can be. So share it. Interrupt the people around you. Ask them to think about it and question it. I promise when your project benefits, so will you and, in turn, so will the team.
And if you have to sit close enough to someone you can hear them reading to themselves, he or she might as well be one of the smartest people you know. I know that’s where I sit.