When the time of quarantine hit, most of us went kicking and screaming out the door to work from our homes, leaving behind our stunning 10,000-square-foot space in the Warehouse District of Raleigh.
The space was amazing: two floors, repurposed wood everywhere, and an outdoor patio. An open plan (we know, we know) but with plenty of spaces to get away, close a door and think by yourself or with a partner. It was a great place to spend your week. Covid changed the way we see it.
It's 20 months later and we've reinvented the way we work with a new space.
We call it going from factory to showroom.
That is, our new office is a place where &'ers can come together when needed and do the work, have some fun, and collaborate. It's also a place clients can come and see us in the wild and be a part of it all. But it also supports being in the office only when you need to be there. We've even opened up our space to other members of our local creative community who want to have a place to work and commune with other like-minded people.
After a lot of planning, we're using a bit more than half of the real estate of our previous space. Oh, and it was President Obama's campaign space in North Carolina. (Maybe we should have led with that.)
First stop is a communal kitchen and meeting area. This is the place we connect with each other, talk about Squid Game, and grab a snack, a cup of joe, or often a beer (one of the perks of co-owning Ponysaurus Brewing.) A roll-up garage door opens to extend the space out onto a patio.
We have a hybrid model now. Some of us love coming in every day, so anyone can have an assigned desk if they'd like. But others come in as necessary and there are plenty of open spaces to just sit down and do your thing while you're in the office. Plug and play.
A full production studio lets us make the things that make us, us. We love to "make" and it's incredibly efficient.
Conference and work rooms abound for more space to have your own sanctum when you need it. Zoom Room phone booths allow remote clients and workers to have a quiet place to grab a quick conversation or even record our podcast, "Brands in Action."
Perhaps the greatest learning of this experience is that while we can grow and add staff, we can also reduce our footprint and stay productive. That's good for everybody.