If you want to grow… close your offices!
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
It was twelve past when my mobile started to ring:
-Hello, I’m outside but I don’t know what the flat number is…
-Hi Mike, you can get in from the ground floor.
In less than 30 seconds he walked through the door:
-So your office is… Starbucks?
-That’s right. Youll have seen we have a few more around Barcelona.
-(Laughs) “But… what happened? Wasn’t it going too well?
-On the contrary, we just opened up in two new countries
-What? Now I’m baffled!
-I’ll tell you about it now – do you want a coffee?
Let me introduce myself. My name is John: frustrated footballer, converted journalist, photography enthusiast. And one of the two to blame for Poko, that bizarre publicity agency that from one day to the next, became officeless. What do we do? We create memorable campaigns via interactive experiences. Or as we prefer to call it, build the dialogue between brands and people.
Three months ago we decided to leave a beautiful loft office in Gracia, at the heart of Barcelona, in order to move our office to the Internet. We did this because more and better work gets done in the cloud. In an increasingly more mobile market, offices will also become more mobile, what Josep Maria Ganyet defined as a “wireless, paperless and spaceless office“. From this section, I will try to transmit the experiences of a company that in order to grow, decided to close its offices.
Friday 7pm. The smell of freshly ground coffee at Starbucks, Passeig de Gracia, at the heart of Barcelona. After a very productive meeting at the offices of a well known brand of jeans, I get ready to prepare for the weekend. Summarising up the past week quickly, I can say that these five days have been very intense: twentysomething meetings – almost six a day and the launch of two new projects. A week in which I have met over thirty people and worked in seven different places including three coffee shops, two hotels, one serviced office, my own home and an incredible terrace with a view of La Pedrera.
“I couldn’t”, said Paul, a consultant from London who is here in Barcelona for an exhibition, “I’m incapable of concentrating outside of the office”. I explain to him, that what I do when I am not able to concentrate, is to move to a radically different place; and it always works. My audience listens carefully by means of ‘uh-huhs’ that denotes that something in between scepticism and politeness that prevents us from being opposed to someone we do not know. So I continue with my argument: I explain that after discovering the advantages of the cloud, I now find it difficult to work within the same four walls of a certain place. That way I was less creative, less proactive, a lot less efficient and resolved little. And it is purely a question of productivity. In the end, Paul lightly objects assuring that a routine has its positive side because at the end of the day “man is a creature of habit…” but at the slight thought that his comment could be controversial, he smoothes it over with a British elegance, “…it is also true that man can become accustomed to not have customs”. Before I knew it, we had spent 40 minutes chatting and I had to go. We conclude that working outside the office is not so much a question of concentration or habits, if not a question of means: with the necessary means, one can work anywhere.
Before saying goodbye we exchanged cards. Paul showed me the central location of his office on his iphone, in the hub of the financial district. He tells me that whatever Poko may need in London, his office is our office. I begin the weekend with a smile: without even wanting an office, it turns out we now had one in the City.