The challenge: how to combine solo work with a culture of collaboration
Every business sector has a specific set of needs, and every company has their own way of working. This may seem like stating the obvious – yet these fundamentals are often overlooked when choosing business premises.
In the creative industries, the right workspace is vitally important. At advertising agencies and media companies, open-plan offices have long been based on the principle that openness stimulates creativity. But that view isn’t necessarily shared by the industry’s rising stars.
The ad agency Romance is a new kid on the block, owned by Omnicom Group. In the five years since they have been active on the French market, Romance have racked up an impressive tally of key accounts (Intermarché, Decathlon, Ricard, Audi, ATOL, Santé publique France, Europe 1, Mondelēz and P&G) by pursuing a simple ideal: building a strong territory for each client, with the conviction that powerful brands are able to build on the major changes of our time.
But what does that mean in the workplace? Stéphanie Leray, Associate Director in charge of Newbiz at Romance explains: “From the start, our intention has been to create a holistic, decompartmentalised agency – breaking down barriers so that we can work in complete synergy and focus solely on our clients’ business needs.”
The trick is to foster collaboration and teamwork, whilst ensuring employees have the space to shut themselves away to work on strategic planning or writing copy – tasks for which an open-plan office isn’t always conducive to. “We need meeting rooms, viewing rooms, brainstorming rooms – things like that,” chips in Jérôme Lavillat, Strategy Director at Romance. “These days, very few agency premises are designed to enable their people to work in the right conditions with lots of different rooms at their disposal.”
The solution: personalised workspaces at WeWork Lafayette
Romance currently employs 95 staff, however they have no plans to become an industry giant, preferring to aim for a medium-sized structure, where the size of the accounts and brands they handle matters more than the extent of their in-house workforce.
The effects of the Covid-19 epidemic have changed nothing. On the contrary, as Jérôme Lavillat notes: “Through the different lockdowns, we came to realise that our physical premises were helping to maintain our corporate culture. From that point of view, occupying a space out of tune with what we’re about was inconceivable.”
Therefore, in January 2021 Romance opted for WeWork Lafayette – taking full advantage of the personalisation option offered to create a layout tailored to their needs. “We were able to change all of the furniture and created a very large meeting room with high-end video equipment in which to meet with our clients, whilst not forgetting the more conventional goodies such as a fully set up turntable for playing vinyls.”
The result: a workspace that suits a growing advertising agency to a tee
The most important factors for Romance were the space arrangement and organisation of different work zones, with places for solo work and spaces where staff can put their heads together.
Jérôme Lavillat agrees that WeWork has juggled these two requirements perfectly: “There are a multitude of different areas within our space and inside the building: phone booths, all sorts of different-sized meeting rooms, some private and others that have to be booked, conference rooms, our open space, breakout areas and more. Our home here is conducive to collaboration.”
By offering a flexible, personalised space that fits Romance’s needs perfectly, “WeWork has solved a workspace issue that advertising agencies have had for a long time.”