The work environment is rapidly changing, even in the church. I live in Austin, which is a major tech city and it seems like many of my friends/peers no longer work (or have to work) in traditional offices. Many work exclusively from home or a combination of home and a local office. Even some who work in an office work with a team from all over the country. The days of a traditional office are over.
Several months ago, Gateway made a pretty significant transition in office culture. For years, we’ve not had enough office space. With a small farm of cubes in addition to small offices, everyone was super crowded. As we continued to grow the staff, things continued to get more uncomfortable. Then we realized something. A significant number of staff weren’t spending much time in the office because it was hard to get work done with 3 people to a cube.
So, we decided to go to a shared office environment. No more cubes. Big open spaces with comfortable couches, chairs and tables. Offices would be less personalized and more accommodating to people who needed a space if no one was in it. Only a few offices are designated (primarily accounting and some senior staff). There was a lot of uncertainty and some grumbling about the move, but in the end, it’s been a total success. The open office environment supports a mobile staff. The open office environment also creates a more collaborative and engaging work environment. Where we were once way over-crowded, now we have plenty of space. We could probably add 10-20 more employees and the space will still work. Why, because we’ve given the staff permission to work where they work best but have created a great place for staff to land when they come into the office.
I love my NextGen office space. We have a large conference table where we primarily work. When we need to crank stuff out, we put in our headphones. We have a large living room area for meetings and hanging out with mobile walls to separate our space from the rest of the office. Sure, I usually spend the first 2-4 hours of the day at home or Starbucks, but I absolutely love working with my team in the office.
What about you? Does your church allow for creative work arrangements? Is there an expectation to work from the office? Where do you get your best work done?
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To start my office is also the children’s resources room so it’s full of storage cabinets and has our copier. It on the children’s hall so it’s not apart of the traditional office suit we have at the front of the of the church.
While some would be offended at not being in the main office suit, I like where my office is. On Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights my office is right in the middle of the action and I can quickly and easily get to resources. I also don’t get as much foot traffic as the other ministers do during the week.
I think I get my best office work done at Starbucks, which I frequent many Mondays and Fridays. I think I do my worst office work from home.
At my church all ministers are expectd to keep office hours, but they are not set in stone and can change easily.
In the end, my pastor is not much of a micromanager, so as long as I get my work done, keep the lines of communication open (especially between our secretaries and my pastor) and come prepared to staff meeting, he is not going to make me clock in and out of my office.
We are switching to a large open office soon and I am terrified! I currently have my own office and I like being able to hear things, but not be surrounded by noise. Praying God will change my heart and that it will be for the best. Thanks for this article, it’s helping me see maybe it could be a good thing. Maybe 😉
Yes, it will come with challenges. There will be things that you miss. However, I encourage you to fully embrace the change. Learn how to cope/deal with the frustrations and I think that in the end, you’ll gain something you never expected.
I feel that our entire staff is tighter and more connected. We do more together and I feel like it forces the relationship thing better than anything else. There’s no avoiding an issue when you have to look them in the face all day long.