Ollie’s guide to office life

As you might have read/heard already – I have started placement, and I am loving it. Coming to the end of my second week, which has been manic – going to conferences, drinks receptions, champagne dinners and liaising with exciting new clients – it’s safe to say I am exhausted. What with an event in London, the heat causing restless nights and general 9-5:30 life, I am currently behind on an entire night’s sleep, and still got a busy weekend ahead. BUT, plea for sympathy over, I have had an absolutely phenomenal week and I have had even more pinch-yourself-moments. I wanted to write now, however, about the 5 main things I have learned from working full time in a busy office…

1. Emailing your colleague, who is sat right next to you, is totally okay.
At first this was a strange one to get used to, and even now it still feels quite odd… but it has become evidently clear to me that it is totally acceptable to do this, however weird it feels. “Can I run this past you when you have a mo?” and “Take a quick read of this when you can!” are typical messages, especially when people are out of the office. During the week, you sometimes speak to colleagues via email more than you do face-to-face.

2. You will never drink as much tea/ coffee in your life, as when you work in an office
I kid you not, almost every hour on the dot, the call goes out; “Anyone for a cuppa?” Many hot beverages are consumed in offices, particularly when your work has its own Barista quality coffee machine, countless varieties of tea and a syrup set. I’m pushing 6/ 7 a day at the moment, which I am simultaneously proud and ashamed of. 

3. Music is key
We have a little speaker in the middle of the office which is always on quietly in the background. To save any further debates (and occasional outbursts of “What on earth are we listening to?”), I created a ‘Collab playlist’ so that everyone gets their tastes accounted for. It provides a much nicer atmosphere for everyone to be working hard in rather than silence, and just generally helps to make a lovely vibe.

4. Getting out of the office is so important
Especially when working somewhere as lovely as Brighton, or for those in other cities – I cannot recommend enough, actually taking the time out to either during lunch or after work, go and explore. In my first week I hardly got a chance to at all, so this week – I made a real point of getting out and seeing people, popping to the shops or walking down the road. And it’s lovely! When you work 08:45-17:30 Monday-Friday mainly inside, sat down – getting out and about to walk and explore does you the world of good both physically and mentally.

5. Agency life is mad. Period.
I have been here a week, and already I have seen everyone’s pre-warnings of the manic way of life of agency office work coming into full force. Even in only a small power-team of 11, we all manage to keep exceptionally busy, and it is very common practice to not see people, more than actually seeing them.
Being based outside of London, we travel all over the place going between clients, the office, journalist meetings, events, conferences, exhibitions, pitches – the lot. On Tuesday, I was at a champagne dinner with cricketer and TV star Phil Tufnell, and this morning half the team are out pitching for a new client. Just yesterday, our Managing Director came running through the office on the phone saying “I’ll see you in 2 hours!!” having just received a last minute invitation to Ascot. It’s mad. And I love it.

Ben Keeley