I’ve been making an extra effort recently to spend more time catching up with fellow Planners and Strategists (of all types) – and I’ve never come away from a coffee shop, cafe or restaurant without a post-it note full of scribbled ideas and To Dos. Notes of websites to visit, books to read, new business opportunities to pursue and even agencies and clients to avoid all come home with me to be actioned and even better I also take home a renewed sense of enthusiasm and optimism. I’d hope that my drinking and dining partners feel the same way!
Sat in a coffee shop mid-morning the other day putting the world to rights with a fellow Planner I realised that this was something I did much less back when I was a full-time employee, not just because of the logistics involved in synchronising lunch breaks but because of the average agency’s focus on productivity and value being measured by number-of-hours-spent-at-desk-and-in-office-based-meetings. It’s really hard to timesheet ‘unexpectedly learning more about roundtable discussion moderation techniques while eating cake’.
But it’s not just agency culture that doesn’t tend to encourage serendipitous get-togethers. There’s been a lot in the media recently (like here and here, thanks for the links Andreea) suggesting that the modern workplace (open plan, with compulsory attendance 9-5.30) is in fact one of the worst possible environments in which to be productive and creative. Perhaps we should all be moving towards the consultant/freelancer model of intense spells of secluded solo work interspersed with formal meetings and less structured ‘meet ups’?