comparing and contrasting agency shop floors

In my new freelance life I‘ve been having lots of meetings with local agencies.  From one man bands to UK top 30 agencies and from start-ups to old timers I’ve sat in a lot of agency receptions recently and it’s been a real eye opener.

I’ve been amazed at the sheer diversity of approaches to the design and layout of the ‘shop floor’ of a marketing agency.  Take the poky outside-of-a-tardis sized reception that led to an inside-of-a-tardis sized labyrinth of offices.  Or the very spacious and swish reception that belonged to an agency with a headcount in single figures.  I’ve seen funky industrial spaces and converted listed buildings; agencies with entry buzzers and visitors badges and agencies where the visitors chair was next to the dog basket.

I’ve been quite cheered by the number of agencies that were nice places to hang out in – tidy(ish), spacious, light, bright and even inspiring Creative Spaces.  Other agencies had clearly embraced google’s third rule of managing knowledge workers and packed them in, making for an oppressive and claustrophobic environment and some agencies were so new they had yet to get round to hanging a sign above their front door, never mind worry about how their internal space was configured.

The other noticeable thing was the number of Faces from Agencies Past that kept popping up.  It rather reinforced what I posted a while ago about how you should try very hard not to fall out with anyone in this industry as inevitably you will end up working with them again in the future…

So would I choose to work full time in any of the agencies I’ve visited recently?  I’m not sure.  I think I quite like combining the hustle and bustle of agency life (whatever kind of building it might take place in) with the peace and quiet of working from home.

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