The Benefits of Being the Office Nomad

By Scott Signore

As we are currently experiencing a significant (insert “long-overdue”) office build-out, it’s a bit nuttier these days at Matter in Newburyport than usual.  We’re expanding our space here at the Tannery to accommodate our growth and acquiring an additional 2,500 square feet.  And, simultaneous to our expansion, we are reworking 2,000 square feet of existing space so it better serves our needs.

In addition, as if the build-out isn’t enough office environment change to manage, two weeks ago we welcomed Mandy Mladenoff, a wonderful and experienced PR professional to our team. Mandy, who joins us from SHIFT Communications, is the new general manager of this office. (I’ll be blogging specifically about her soon, as I can already see that she’s going to make a serious and positive impact on our business!) Mandy arrived prior to my office being built in our new space, but I decided to surrender my current spot to her immediately so she would be most comfortable. She’s the new boss here in Newburyport, so I thought she should have the boss’s seat.

To that end, I’ve been a bit of a nomad for the past two weeks. I have roamed from one open desk to another while trying to keep things moving and, as I should have expected, that experience has been both enjoyable and challenging.

Without reservation, the part of the gypsy-like role that I’ve most enjoyed has been sitting (even closer than I usually do) to the smartest, savviest, hardest working gang of PR people that can be found anywhere.  In typical times my office door is wide open and I’m proud to say that many from our staff come to see me daily. We talk about clients, the agency, the world around us and often, complete nonsense, and I enjoy all of it. However, those conversations tend to be brief and it’s much different when you are sharing an office for a day…or three.

I spent three days last week at Mendo’s desk as he spent that time at a client event. My office mate, temporarily loaned to me by Mendo, was Melissa, and she was tremendous company and had me laughing all week long.  (In fact, we gabbed so much that we both ended up having longer than usual work days to catch-up on things we didn’t get done earlier!) Far beyond her quality of chat, it was excellent to see how Melissa worked with her colleagues and managed her to-do list. In addition, it was awesome to see how she counseled her clients and creatively pitched her client’s story. It was outstanding, really, and Melissa knows how much I enjoyed it because I was looking for the same seat earlier this week when I needed to find a temporary home.

It’s also a significant change of gears when you swap your window seat for an open doorway on the agency’s main drag. There is a lot to see – and you see it all. I saw bodies hustling by from one meeting or call to another, and I witnessed a countless number of ad hoc client-related conversations. I overheard congratulatory encouragement and harmless but obligatory jest between staff. (You need a good sense of humor to work here at Matter – it’s been a key to our success.)  In addition, I witnessed a seemingly countless number of coffee runs made by colleagues, and fortunately for these folks our office is well-situated among a number of coffee shops for just these situations.

When you roam office to office like I’ve been roaming, you need to have a great deal of focus. (See the earlier paragraph: I didn’t focus like I should when sharing an office with Melissa.) And, you need similar laser-like focus when you work amid stacks of boxes and in earshot of walls being built. I commend the group here in Newburyport for maintaining their outstanding results during a nuttier time than usual. We have new clients, new and dynamite people, and we are focused on our path ahead. And while I’m looking forward to having my new office completed, I’m even more excited at the opportunity to work so closely with the best team in the business here at Matter.