And we are all thrilled.
After about a year and a half of saving a lot of money by working out of our homes, the folks at Greenroom made a huge leap this summer and moved into a loft office in the Glenwood South district of Downtown Raleigh. It has its share of charm: huge bay windows and natural light, and a cargo train track that eases by a couple times a day. We made an investment to add some offices upstairs, but for the most part, it is an open floor plan. Extremely open.
In the first couple months, I’ve already learned quite a bit about starting an office, and thought I’d share a few findings in this blog :
1. GET SOMEONE TO HELP YOU WITH THE LAYOUT
2. GET A “NEGATIVE NANCY JAR”
Something you learn very quickly when moving into an office with co-workers : Your energy has a direct effect on everyone around you. This is something that doesn’t always happen when everyone is working from home and the only interaction is Google Hangouts and conference calls. When you are all together, tone becomes so much more important.
We work with clients. We love our clients. But sometimes we disagree with our clients. And sometimes those disagreements can lead to, well, smack talking. We quickly learned that too much of this leads to a catty environment. So we invented “The Negative Nancy Jar.” Every time you get catty, you put a dollar in… There are some times you can’t help it. Our jar is slowly filling up. But we feel like this jar has encouraged our team to find more positive, constructive ways to deal with client issues. So far so good.
3. FIND A GOOD BALANCE BETWEEN OPEN AND CLOSED.
We are still working on this. Depending on what kind of company you run, you need varying levels of privacy. For us, we need some, but we also really need open spaces where a free exchange of ideas is integral to creativity. So there needs to be places that allow both. Right now we are a little heavy on the creative space, and need more privacy. Probably something we should have considered more closely in the design (where we only put the walls up 8 feet on a 12 foot ceiling in an office with very little acoustical deadeners). Oh well….
4. GET READY TO LEARN A LOT MORE ABOUT YOUR COWORKERS
It’s amazing what you can get away with in a home office. When Kim went out of town last year I spent 4 days editing in my bathrobe, didn’t shave, showered I think once, ordered 51 pizzas, didn’t clean up after myself until about an hour before she got home. Different ballgame in an office. This is a good thing. To run a successful company, you really need to know your team members, and you learn more about their energy, their strengths and weaknesses when you share a space.