For this week’s blog I decided to publish an open letter to my boss, Debra Levy, president of Key Communications Inc., USGNN’s parent company. I thought about sending her an email, but then I thought maybe others in the industry would be interested in what I had to say.
July 9, 2013
As you know, Chris [USGNN video producer Chris Bunn] and I drove to D.C. yesterday to visit Intus Windows. We walked up to their Georgetown address, weren’t sure if we were in the right place, but then saw a small sign bearing the Intus name on an institutional-looking metal door. We descended the stairs and were immediately deposited in a large open room. Chris and I looked around, then at each other and he murmured, “Now this is an office,” to which I nodded a “yeah, this is pretty cool” kind of nod.
Why, you ask, did we react this way? Well, the photos shown here pretty much speak for themselves. You walk in and see a few enclosed offices to your right, but they are still enclosed in glass so anyone can see in. To the left there are about four or five people seated at “open” desks. You hear phones ringing, people talking. In front of those desks are couches where the execs conduct meetings (I must admit they are pretty comfy). But what most caught our eye was what you saw when you walked in and looked straight ahead: a pool table, foosball table and bar.
When we left, I noticed the bikes parked near the door which told me at least a few of the eight employees in this office bike to work.
So Chris and I did our interview, left the building and immediately started talking about the office. He said, “You know, Deb has been talking about moving offices. You should talk to her about this.”
So that of course got me thinking and you know me well enough to know that I can overanalyze things, which I may have done in this case.
You know that I’m the person in the office who doesn’t do a great job of tuning things out. If things get loud, I have to close my door to work on a story. So I could see that if I was writing a story and people were playing pool I am pretty sure I would get annoyed. Do you place limits on when you can play or is it a big free for all?
You also know that I can be quite vocal in my office—constantly talking to myself. At least with some walls, people don’t always hear what I am saying. I hate to think what I would be like if there were no walls to stifle my ramblings.
But there are some advantages. No need for you to walk down the hall to talk to someone. Heck, you can probably just walk out of your glass-enclosed office and call out a name. And if you wondered what people are doing all day long, the office set up is pretty much an open book.
If you’re wondering about this set up, I asked Roland Talalas, co-founder, about it and he said he likes to offer a relaxed atmosphere for his employees. He added that it also shows that Intus is an easy company to do business with.
So what do you think? If you decide at some point this is a great idea, I just have two requests: some guidelines for those pool tables and one of those offices with a door. Oh, and maybe the occasional happy hour …
P.S. Since I am printing this “letter” for all to see, if you are an owner reading this I would love to know your thoughts. The same goes for employees like me. Post your comments here.