One of the things I’ve always loved about working in advertising agencies is that every day presents a new challenge. New clients. New campaigns. New opportunities to create something great. The energy and the excitement that comes from that opportunity is the reason I chose this business. I imagine that may be the same for many of you.
So, if all that’s true, why is it so easy to find yourself stuck in a rut – creatively, strategically, or leading your company? Turns out, it could be you just need to move.
Your chair. Not your company.
Studies show where we work has great influence on the nature and quality of our work due to our attention to what surrounds us. As social psychologist Robert Cialdini points out in his bestseller, “PRE-Suasion,” the things we focus on become elevated in our consciousness. We give those things more importance and ultimately, they become causal in their connection.
Look around your immediate office. What are you looking at when you’re sitting at your desk? How is the room oriented? What color are the walls painted? What do you have hanging on the walls? Is the view inspiring, or an energy killer? What kind of music are you playing?
Taking Cialdini’s observations into account, it stands to reason that looking at the same view, and working in the same environment every hour of every day on every project, could produce the same kind of thinking. And even if some of that thinking is brilliant, over time there’s bound to be some level of diminishing returns and eventually your thinking may start to feel stagnant. If to no one else, to yourself.
As advertising and marketing people, we are forever chasing bigger, better, different ideas. But it’s extremely possible that we’re inadvertently hamstringing ourselves by not changing our visual and aural perspective on a regular basis. Yes, we’re creatures of habit. But if we want to improve our thinking, our strategies, our ability to lead, the fix is simple.
We’ve gotta move.
Rearrange your office. Move your desk. Reorient everything in your cube 90, or 180 degrees. Sit and think in a different common area of the agency. Go sit in the lobby, or the kitchen. Sit at the head of the conference room table and change seats every 20 minutes. When you’re finished with that, go outside. Put a blanket down in the grass. Side on the curb. Walk around the block and dictate your thoughts into your iPhone. If you listen to Pop music when you work, try Jazz. You listen to Jazz? Try classical. Very few things can change your mindset quicker than musical style. Why not use that to your benefit?
In the past decade, more and advertising agencies, marketing agencies and media firms have moved from a traditional office layout to an open floor plan with fewer offices and a more fluid environment with common areas, community desks and comfortable sitting areas. In just a few months, we’ll be doing the same thing at LOOMIS, exchanging our offices and cubes for a wide-open concept meant to encourage interaction, organic collaboration and better relationships. It’s also a move that will give every person in the agency the chance to change their visual perspective at will.
As the calendar turns to 2018, make the resolution to move in the new year. Commit yourself to changing your view at least once every day. Scope out some great thinking spots around the office and then write in your calendar which ones work and which don’t. When you figure out where you’re most productive, spend more time there. Then try something new.
Open offices aren’t perfect and present some unique challenges. But they also offer interesting and unexpected opportunities. This year, embrace something different and set yourself up for success.
It might just be the best year of your career.
TINA TACKETT is the Executive Creative Director at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency. For more about challenger branding, subscribe to our blog BARK! The Voice of the Underdog