Working Conditions

Where you sit can affect how you work – and not always in the way you’d imagine.

My friend David Bradfield recently posted on his Facebook page:

From corner office to collaborative workspace… these are my new digs. Dig!

Bradfield Collaboration

Reposted with kind permission from David Bradfield, Navigate Communications

When I started working it was in a very large open plan room. Everyone had a desk and there were “pods” of four desks shoved together across the floor. The MD had a pseudo office – glass wall; no door – but lots of other practice group MDs were in amongst the rest of the staff as well.

When I move to Canada, I was given an office and at FH/iStudio I eventually battled my way into an office with a window while at com.motion I was lucky enough to have a spacious corner office with room for a table and chairs.

At DDB Toronto, it’s a different ballgame. It’s back to the open plan room with desks and two-man pods. I spend most of my day looking at this guy.

It was a definite adjustment to get used to the more collaborative, open work space and I still miss being able to do yoga positions while on conference calls. However my lack of physical wellbeing and inner calm is more than outweighed by being in amongst the team, to get a feel of the workflow, to get the rhythm of the team – and, importantly, to see how they are coping and being able to reassign projects based on workload. I love the informality and added creativity of being able to jam on ideas by just, you know, initiating a conversation. Hopefully I’ve positioned my monitors so no one can see I’m writing this blog post!

What do you think? How do you prefer to work – corner office or mosh-pit? Collaboratively or segregated?

For a bit of an office tour, check out a recent DDB Toronto profile in the Globe and Mail – Amazing Space.


5 Responses to Working Conditions

  1. I agree — environment has a huge impact on our well-being, creativity and productivity.

    Having worked in all these different types of workspaces, would you say you have a preference or have you adapted to the pros/cons of each space?

    • Ed Lee says:

      hey eric – both have pros and cons depending on the situation you’re in. i like being in amongst the team and dislike not being able to take conference calls on speaker phone any more. done right, the open model is probably my preferred one but all depends on the corporate culture and on deprogramming myself that office=importance.

  2. John Carson says:

    Ed, having worked in open-concept and my own office, I definitely prefer the former. As you say, it’s cool to initiate ad-hoc mini-brainstorms and not feel cut off.

    (I am able to tune out office “noise” when concentrating hard on blog comment replies, such as this one.)


  3. I’m in the adjustment stage. After 17 years of having my own space, it’s refreshing to be surrounded by creative people. Ideas ignite and are validated or modified. Sometimes they’re shutdown. It’s all good.

    We also have small meeting rooms where conference calls and webinars can happen without interruption or distraction. So it’s kind of the best of both worlds.

    I also like that I can work with headphones on. I’ve rediscovered so much music as I shuffle through the day. I could have done this in an office but that’s what speakers were for. I find the headphones focus me even more and make the time fly.

    • Ed Lee says:

      i haven’t figured out the headphones part just yet – i seem to just annoy the team with my taste in music or make them play “Radar Jukebox”.

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