Whether you’re at a PR agency or another creative organization, you know the stereotypes.
A messy desk equals a creative mind. Rule-followers have neat desks.
It’s not that simple, though. We surveyed some spaces in our office to discern any patterns in design to see how reflective they are of the owners’ PR work style and attitude.
Here are some workspace archetypes, created from iPhone photos courtesy of our amazing design intern Gloria, and what they say about the people who work at them.
The “tech” type. Characterized by multiple monitors, the latest smartphone and all the hottest apps, it may appear that this technology PR pro (Chris) “screens” out other forms of communication, relying solely on devices to “speak” to clients and press in an otherwise unadorned office. Not only is that a strategy we discourage, it doesn’t hold true for our resident “tech type,” who is quite the conversationalist and swears by the multiple screens as efficient time-savers (build a list and media monitor at the same time) rather than ways to avoid contact.
“Personal” space. A blend of family, vacation and work photos represent healthy work-life balance, and balance is key to thriving in the super-stressed, deadline-filled world of PR, where your workspace can be a calm oasis as you wait for a client to approve a crucial release or the last piece of an RFP to be written. Marijane is somewhere between “Who works here?” (the empty, impersonal workspace) and a “This is your life” cavalcade of baby, wedding and awkward family photos.
The “fun” desk. Can the owner of the desk with the candy and toys be serious about her work? In our office, the answer is yes. The occupant of this area, Lauren, has craftily used Starburst and chocolate to inspire teamwork and bring out the creativity and spirit of others. Immediately outside our conference room, this “fun” desk is a hub for the brain-stalled or meeting-fatigued to get a much needed pick-me-up.
The “zen” workspace. This crisp, efficient space is also serene and a touch artsy. It telegraphs “ready for business” and “writer in residence” from the helpful table lamp to the prominently placed “Elements of Style.” This desk belongs to a no-nonsense PR writing whiz Michelle, who is diligent about craft with a bit of artistic flair.
“Healthy” sense of organization. From the row of color-coded Post-its to the artfully arranged organizer, this desk assures you that its owner will let no detail be overlooked. In PR, such detail orientation is critical to the implementation of perfect PR programs. The fact that the owner, Eri, is also health-conscious (hydrate, hydrate, hydrate) only further inspires confidence in her abilities.
Where do you fall? Would you place yourself in an different category entirely?
Marijane Funess is the media relations director of Crenshaw Communications. A version of this story appeared on the Crenshaw Communications Blog.