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Progressive Work Environments

March 17, 2009

I just LOVED this column in this morning’s Ad Age newsletter.  It’s from a guy – Phil Johnson – that owns a small shop.  They recently renovated, ripping down walls to create a more open workspace.  The CFO is the only one with a private office, understandably.

Now that the space is open, so are people’s desks, which means their computers are clearly visible to everyone around them.

“We’re talking zero computer privacy, and it has created some uncomfortable moments. Approach someone’s desk, and you may notice a few quick keystrokes, the blink of a Facebook page, and an awkward smile. God bless Tony Zappos, but we’ve got compulsive shoe buyers around here, male and female.”

I find this to be very funny, because I have done the same thing on more than one occasion.  And it’s not when I’m on Facebook, but you know it’s when I’m doing some online shopping.  (I have to check out the Rue La La specials!)  I end up feeling guilty about it.  But in reality, it’s not like I’m spending more than five minutes on the site.  And to Phil’s point,

“One, we’ve done everything we can to assemble the most talented people we can find. We care intensely about the quality of their values, their ideas, and their work.  As long as we honor our commitments to our clients and each other, how and when people get stuff done is their business. Second, we live in a world that is always on. People don’t shut off when they walk out the door. Their curiosity and life experiences all contribute to the success of the agency. We want to respect that spirit in the office as well.”

So maybe I can’t shop online all day for bridesmaid dresses (damn!), but I sure as hell can surf the web and explore with different platforms if I know it will benefit the work we do.

I feel like our shop operates in the same manner.  We’re in a similar open workspace environment where the CFO and HR Director are the only ones with a private office.  Everything is open.  The conference rooms have glass walls and doors.  With everything open and transparent, a more efficient work flow ensues.  Everyone is on the same level, no matter your position or years in the industry.  With that kind of mindset comes collaboration.  And with collaboration comes success in servicing our clients and their brands.

I’m pretty sure that’s what it’s all about.

The next time you see me on YouTube or Ann Taylor, don’t judge.  There’s a pretty good chance whatever I am experiencing at that moment on the Internet will be retained and shared with many, whether you like it or not.

Remember “Kittens, Inspired by Kittens” and “Nannerpuss”?  Talk about relevant Internet randomness.

The line is blurring a bit between personal and professional workplace Internet usage.  I’d love to know what’s next for the progressive work environment …

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. melissahamilton permalink
    March 17, 2009 4:03 pm

    It’s even more fun when you WORK in Interactive . . . I often have friends and family start talking to me on Facebook when they see that I am on . . . and more often than not I am doing some research (in between checking out funny photos).

    It’s a strange world we work in specifically for this business, when the lines are even more blurred. Who’s not to say you won’t find some sort of cool new app when searching for those bridesmaid dresses.

  2. Crystal permalink*
    March 17, 2009 5:55 pm

    I saw that piece this morning and agreed with his policy statement — I don’t care what you do online (with similar exceptions for laws and such). Handle your business and no one will care that you zappos now and again. Some of our most inspired, creative, collaborative conversations in The Lair and at RT look like screwing around on company time. And I’ve seen each of you have individual strokes of genius after lounging on the couch doodling and surfing and gchatting and writing and writing some more. I’ve also seen you guys focus and crunch like a HAL9000 until the job is done. So I don’t care what you do online and you shouldn’t feel guilty. Terrific post.

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