Stressed? Think Wide Open Spaces

By Jennifer Prosek, Managing Partner, Prosek Partners

As a firm that provides public relations, branding and investor relations consulting to financial services companies within various industries, including real estate, we are well aware of the importance of office space in communicating a company’s values and personality.

In our case, our previous office space highlighted the company’s main challenge — the transformation from a young, entrepreneurial firm into a well-established player in our industry. Specifically, we wanted to highlight our growth while maintaining the small-business feel and culture that helped define us.

We had an open floor plan, but the office was essentially cut in half, creating a separation that grew with our numbers. We had conference rooms, but pounced on opportunities to hold meetings at our clients’ offices. A countertop represented our kitchen, and a shared bathroom led to awkward encounters with strangers. The space that had long epitomized our grit and determination to grow as a business had become our detriment. We needed an office to call our own, an office that would make us proud and reinforce our legitimacy as a well-established public relations firm to what can be a very conservative client base.

Stressed?  Think Wide Open Spaces prosek blog photo011 300x200Inevitably, as businesses grow, they face decisions regarding office space and when it is time to move on. No one wants to deal with an overcrowded office, but moving too quickly can hurt just as badly if rushing denies the opportunity to find the right space. In our case, we prioritized having something to call our own, an office we could take pride in. We wanted to encourage collaboration and perpetuate our upbeat culture by providing a large, open work area for everyone. And yes, we were looking forward to having our own bathroom.

In April of 2014, we moved into a new office space. It was the first one in our history that we custom-designed from scratch, with every detail “on brand.” The location, the open architecture, the glass, steel, wood and the stylish furniture have all done wonders to effortlessly communicate our brand; it’s evident in one quick spin through the place, and it has generated a new energy. I would even go as far as to say we walk a little taller, speak a little louder and carry ourselves with more swagger based on the pride we have in our new space. Our “conversation pods” and between-desk ottomans encourage collaboration for client brainstorms and idea generation, and our eat-in kitchen promotes group lunches and coffee breaks ensuring that we continue to cultivate our special culture.

Whether we realize it or not, what we do can be affected by where we do it. And while the stars may not always align, opportunities to upgrade office space can arise as we upgrade our respective companies. When that time comes, do not let the pressure of the moment overwhelm. Figuratively and sometimes literally, think wide open spaces.

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Jennifer Prosek is Managing Partner, Prosek Partners
with offices in New York, Connecticut and London