Who needs walls anyway?

6 things we learned by getting rid of our office walls!

Rebecca Schrader
Oct 4, 2017 · 5 min read

We have finally settled in to the new open plan Catena Media Headquarters in sunny Malta! The big shift didn’t quite go according to plan and we missed our moving deadline by a couple of weeks. This left us “office-less” and the entire company operated remotely for a couple of weeks. However, the awesome team still managed to keep on achieving and still “got shit done”! Would this great attitude and mentality be lost in a noisy open office plan? Would long-term wins greatly exceed the short-sightedness of being fully focused on the task at hand?

As employees of a hyper-growth company, we’ve seen the organisation grow from three to more than 250 employees located in many countries and with offices in 4 locations, in less than 5 years. The challenges we’ve experienced during this time of growth are what we imagine a lot of organisations have also had to face. Some of them include;

  • Finding the right people
  • Setting the operation up to scale
  • The never ending struggle between strategy, operational excellence and continuous growth

In this post, Catena Media’s Team of Product Leaders expand on their thoughts on the importance of having the right people on board and how our brand new office and its open plan layout have enhanced this.

It seems that lately more articles are being shared on how an open space seating plan can challenge productivity and privacy levels, mainly due to the increased noise — referred to as both actual level of noise (music, chatter, etc…) and disturbance (“do you have five minutes?”). These are both valid concerns, but from our perspective the benefits outweigh being irked by someone else’s playlist.

1. People actually meet, in real life!

Gone are the constant text pings, long email chains and unnecessary back and forth. The benefits of a quick face-to-face chat are endless; less misunderstandings, less time wasted and less screen time to mention a few. The office is littered with little casual meeting areas and comfy chairs which really does encourage more informal meet ups.

2. Co-working, collaboration on project based work and creativity all over the place

The new open office layout inspires and drives creativity. Think moss-covered walls, standing desks, clever use of empty space, inspiring books and little cosy corners all with a chic industrial feel. Gone are the days of the Product Team sitting in a closed room with a locked door. Grabbing laptops and sitting together with different departments and teams in a comfy inspiring place has never been easier. No planning and booking of meeting rooms is necessary, the new environment has people sitting with a variety of different teams at different times of the day, in different spaces. It’s just too easy!

3. The opportunity for a great looking office fosters culture and talent acquisition

Catena Media has always had a good company culture and has always been a great workplace. However, the new office has made this better. Breath-taking harbour views, a more than comfortable work space and lots of natural light has the team in the right mindset to do their best work. While casual and cool, the space is still professional and you can see cross-departmental impromptu meetings happening all over the space. Our awesome office is also a good selling point to get more awesome talent on board.

4. Sense of community and belonging

Getting rid of our office walls has cultivated feelings of being a part of something much greater. The office now has a structure and a plan, teams are strategically placed next to each other and this fosters a sense of belonging to a much bigger picture! We can literally see beyond our walls.

5. Increase of general ownership and responsibility

The space also encourages immediate solutions to burning issues. Approaching people has never been less intimidating and losing the walls has really helped with breaking down barriers or any fear of knocking on doors people may have had. Hiding in a corner and closing a door is no longer an option, however, finding a quiet and inspiring area to work on a project is! Whether it’s a standing desk, reclining armchair with a view of the harbour or a Skype booth for those moments when you really need a quiet moment, there is always a way to get stuff done.

6. Encourages quicker travel of information (open communication)

Information and news travels quicker, and in the online industry where things change from one moment to the next this is crucial to our success. Ideas now evolve into reality and changes happen quicker. There is no more setting of unnecessary meetings and more of a “Let’s get shit done right and quick!” approach.

The ultimate recommendation

If you like many other companies are considering a move, our recommendation is — don’t hesitate. The positives far outweigh the negatives, morale is definitely higher, people are happier and as result we are more productive. We have succeeded in breaking down not only our physical walls, but also any pre-existing mental barriers.

Catena Media is a fast-growing online performance marketing company, transforming iGaming through the power of choice, having established a leading position through strong organic growth and acquisitions. The company was founded in 2012 and has over 250 employees in the US, Serbia, UK and Malta, where the Head Office is situated. Catena Media is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm Stock Exchange in Sweden.

Photography by Kurt Paris.

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