Open floor plans, shared virtual work environments are contributing to business success. Here's how.
If you work for a digital agency, I can close my eyes and, without ever having visited your office, probably get pretty close to describing the environment. I'm not psychic and haven't done an exhaustive study. These offices just tend to the same general look and feel because it works.
Typically, there's lots of open space. The development team works in low light with the account staff on the phone -- loudly. Unless there's a client meeting, most of the staff wear jeans or similarly comfortable attire with earphones plugged in while they listen to their iPods and tap away with dual screens in front of them. They tap regularly into an intranet or some other shared, collaborative application that allows staff members to keep each other up to speed.
Some staff work early, some work late, some work virtually. The pantries are stocked with snacks; some healthy and organic, but most of the old original standbys are there -- Oreos included. There are plenty of toys, including Nerf guns, which are de rigueur. If we were talking about the dot-com era, then you could probably add a ping-pong table, foosball table, or even a basketball court to complete the picture.
But it isn't just the ad agencies. Walk into most modern businesses with any kind of online component and you'll find some elements of this or a similar environment.
Why is the atmosphere so similar across such a diverse group of businesses? Because an open, flexible, and empowered business structure is the only way that businesses can survive and thrive; this model is reflected in the office policies, structure, and even office and furniture configuration of many businesses today.
Change is a constant, and the pace of change is accelerating. Businesses must be flexible, nimble, and paying attention to keep up and succeed in this environment.
What can other businesses learn from the success of the new business culture epitomized by digital business? Every business is impacted by the pace of change today and would benefit from the experience of those who have learned to hone their business environment for success.
The same forces that have sculpted the open, flexible, and empowered business models that are necessary for success in interactive or online businesses can be and should be applied to any business undergoing rapid change. And what business isn't?
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Robin is the CEO and cofounder of NetPlus Marketing Inc., a top 50 interactive agency established in 1996 to focus exclusively on online marketing and advertising best practices. Robin brings innovative strategy and a depth and breadth of marketing experience to the agency's practice and management. As one of the industry's pioneers, she is a driving force behind NetPlus Marketing's ongoing success with a diverse and discerning client base that considers online results critical to their business success.
Robin is a frequent speaker at national industry events, including ClickZ, internet.com, OMMA, Ad:Tech, SES, Online Marketing Summit, and Thunder Lizard conferences and is a sought-after resource for industry and business publications for her insight and advice on such topics as digital strategy, social media marketing, and behavioral targeting.
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