We've Moved: Both Physically & Culturally
January 11, 2018 I A. Bruce Crawley
Communications firms often fail to share important news about themselves, even as they ramp up news and product/service information about their clients.
Well...in a break with that practice, here’s the latest from Millennium 3 Management: Our offices have recently moved, not just physically, but also culturally.
By way of backdrop, our business has migrated, over the years, from office tower-to-office tower, in center city Philadelphia. We launched at the Bourse Building, moved to 510 Walnut Street, crossed into “west of City Hall,” 11 years ago, to the massive and imposing Two Commerce Square, at 20th and Market Street and, finally moved, again, in simple pursuit of a better view, to One Commerce Square, at 21st and Market.
While each of those decisions appeared to be the right thing to do, at the time, I have to admit that our most recent move, back to “east of City Hall,” to our own, self-contained, virtual co-working space, is my absolute favorite.
I say “self-contained, virtual co-working” because, in this office move, we wanted our space planning to reflect, not just the fiscal considerations that are always central to office relocations, but also issues that have spawned the new co-working space incursion, and the increasingly important “gig economy.”
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A. Bruce Crawley is president, CEO and principal owner of Millennium 3 Management, Inc. (M3M). Read More...
With those considerations as driving forces, we totally re-thought our approach to location and office design, moving from dwelling on fundamental fit-out decisions, color scheme determinations and traditional office-size debates, to issues that would actually enhance workforce collaboration, team-building and flexibility.
While we were impressed by the emerging co-working phenomenon, here in Philly and globally, ranging from the local Pipeline to the transnational WeWork, we also agreed that we were not quite prepared to gravitate completely to an actual co-working property manager, or to share space with, and possibly concede client project privacy to, people outside of our own firm, on a work-a-day basis. So, we took the concept “in-house.”
We were also influenced by two thought leaders on the subject, during our decision-making. One was David Kelly, founder of design firm IDEO, who said: “When you walk into most offices, the space tells you that it’s meant for a group of people who work alone.”
We heard that, and set out to minimize that occurrence in our new space.
The second influence was tech/innovative giant Google, where my son, coincidentally, happens to work. The company published the following recent perspective on its own work spaces: “Our offices have become well-known for their innovative, fun, and -some might say wacky- design. Like most of our decisions, data show that these spaces have a positive impact on productivity, collaboration and inspiration.”
That was precisely what we wanted to build upon at M3M, in our own workspace design.
Hence, when team members arrive at our new offices at 7th and Market Streets, they find multiple work-station options, including traditional desks, seating at a kitchen bar, spaces at our new “live edge natural mindi wood” conference table, and settee/over-stuffed lounge chair arrangements. They’re welcomed with great center city views and features such as one of our charitable client’s full-sized, Ghanaian-made, Bamboo Bicycles suspended over the previously described conference table. In addition, to keep us fixed on client strategies and tactics, we’ve installed a huge constantly updated digital marketing infographic display, on a prominent wall in the common space. Of course, the cultural move represented an ideal time to update our web and mobile-based project management system and to adopt a new VoIP phone service...both great for our clients.
In the new, digitally driven work environment, client “visits” to agency office spaces are facilitated, more and more, by videoconference, or other digital or social media interfaces. Increasingly, therefore, offices designed to impress walk-in visitors, even important clients, will be missing the point.
More than ever, if the workspace doesn’t appeal to, and support the tasks of a firm’s team members, it should be strategically re-formatted, or completely discarded.
We find our new office space comfortable, and have already experienced tangible improvement in our client-focused internal collaboration and productivity.