FIRESIDE CHAT #2: TO OFFICE OR NOT TO OFFICE
By Brian Denison on Apr 12, 2021
To Office Or Not To Office? That was the question behind our most recent Fireside Chat that saw more than 80 attendees and helped raise over $400 for the Colorado Creative Community. Together, we sat down to explore the pros and cons of working remotely and how that work might evolve in a post-pandemic world.
Moderated by Lisa Effress, Managing Partner at 11 Dollar Bill, the panel consisted of Julie Andrews, VP/Executive Production Director at R/GA California, David Corns, SVP/Managing Director at R/GA California, and David Baldwin, Partner/CEO at Baldwin& in North Carolina.
The discussion kicked off with the shift to remote work at the very beginning of the pandemic. To nearly everyone’s surprise, not only was it possible to keep teams engaged and the company culture intact, but it also made some things work even better. David Corns noted that “There’s no better equalizer than everyone being the same rectangular shape and size on a screen.” And from a new business perspective, it actually “breaks down some of the pretenses and formality of flying out to a prospective client’s office,” and has helped facilitate more free-flowing and friendly dialogue. Julie added “You want to talk about barriers breaking down… I mean we’re literally in each other’s homes.”
But at this point, we’ve all become pretty accustomed to working remotely. And many of the big questions concern the next phase of the transition. Just how much, if at all, will people be working back in offices once everyone is cleared to do so? On this, the consensus seems to be a more hybrid approach. If the pendulum used to be all the way to one side and now it is at the other, most think it will land somewhere in the middle.
David Corn added “One thing Julie and I have been working on is being really clear to our team that there is zero expectation for anyone to need to be in the office Monday through Friday 9–5 ever again.” In fact, they’re redesigning their offices in California to encourage collaboration and focus as needed, while also ensuring that if some are in the office and others are remote, the team can still work together effectively through tools like Miro and digital whiteboards. That’s going to be the real challenge in the next six months to a year.
As the discussion continued, topics ranged from paying attention to what leadership is signalling as people head back into the office, the challenges of recruiting people in smaller markets, and how all of these things can help advance efforts toward Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. To hear these and many other thoughts on how the office of the future might look, be sure to check out the full video below:
Don’t miss our next Fireside Chat on Friday, April 30th, The Magic of the Dynamic Duo, featuring 2 CEOs and 2 CCOs from 2 incredible agencies that know a thing or two about making it in the business of creativity and ideas.