The PivotDesk Blog

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Space Matters: Revolutionizing Company Culture

Soon after launching Been There, Done That, we heard from many of you that you wanted more — more coaching, more resources, and more access to the network of entrepreneurs PivotDesk has built.

So, we started to host events designed to give you just that…more!

Rather than limit the benefits of these events to attendees only, we’ll be sharing the key insights we covered live, right here on the blog.

Keep an eye out for more PivotDesk event recaps coming soon.

Space Matters: Revolutionizing Company Culture

Leaders from top NYC tech companies on building and maintaining inspiring organizations with kick-ass cultures.

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A few months ago, we teamed up with TriNet to bring you the first installment of our Revolutionizing Company Culture events (you can read about it here). This past Thursday, we were at it again. Our Revolutionizing Company Culture: Space Matters panel co-hosted by TriNet, brought together execs from PureWow, YellowHammer, Contently and PivotDesk. The panelists laid it all out on the table as they shared their own experiences (good and bad!) on creating a strong company culture while considering the influence of their physical space.

Q: True or False, the physical office is now about enabling the workforce, instead of external audiences?

Hagan Major, COO and Co-founder of YellowHammer kicked us off by stating how strongly he felt that this statement was true. “At YellowHammer, we spent a lot of time and money designing and furnishing our space. But you know what, it was worth it because it feels very lived in–because it is!” Hagan told us. He feels that there is no better advertisement for their company culture than to have an office full of people who want to come in and work in their space, in comparison to a nice sign when people walk through the door.

Nicole Olver, Head of People Operations at Contently agreed as well. The dogs, couches and overall layout of the office induces a feeling of family in the Contently office. “ We spend more time in the office with colleagues than at home with our own families, so the office should most definitely be a comfortable place to work” she said, hitting the nail on the head.

When creating the new PureWow office, VP of Finance Phil Vuong made sure that all employees were given the opportunity to voice their ideas and opinions. He explained that they wanted to ensure that the new office properly represented who PureWow is as a company not only to employees, but also to visitors.

Q: Did you have specific objectives around building a new space to enable culture, and the people within?

The motto at Contently is ‘Tell great stories’ Nicole told the group. She explained that all meeting rooms looked completely different, which meant a lot of conversation starters with clients and amongst team members. This encourages their company motto. Additionally, they have an open plan that encourages collaboration, while also separating salespeople from those that need to work quietly. It was really important to Contently to use the ideas of their employees when creating the space because they wanted them to take pride and ownership in their office.

“One of our biggest objectives, was also our biggest struggle,” Hagan explained. “When jumping from an extremely cramped office, to a space too large for our team at the time, we had to strategize how to keep the sense of family and camaraderie amongst employees. Having a space too large was worrisome in keeping our team close together. Our solution was to keep our team on one side of the office, until we expanded into the remaining space.”

At PureWow, their objective was to create an office that properly supported the work getting done while also reflecting the collaborative and fun culture within the company. They have incredible decor, and have even named (by a popular vote) their conference rooms after Gossip Girl characters.



Q: How often, if ever do you shuffle seats of employees? If so, what is the outcome?

According to Hagan, he is a ‘serial shuffler’ who is consistently moving his employees. While he may be overdoing it a bit, he said he has seen incredible work come from it. Initially, YellowHammer had an assistant creative designer that was moved to sit next to developers. After sitting with developers for a while, he learned that his real passion was for coding and software development. Years later he is now managing a large portion of the development that goes on at YellowHammer. All from a seat shuffle.

Nicole noticed that the teams at Contently were starting to develop their own silos, and unfortunately this created some gaps in communication across the company. To correct this, they decided to shuffle seats and split up teams to increase the channels of communication. Soon, the company noticed a positive shift in the way the teams worked together and the style of collaboration.
Have additional questions on company culture? Tweet @PivotDesk using #CCin2016, and we’ll keep the conversation going!


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