All the Preplanning in the World Is No Guarantee of a Good Night’s Sleep

Well, we’re in. The new building that started with a team of us putting on hard hats and shoveling dirt is done. It’s been 19 months of perseverance – through ice storms and temperatures too cold to pour concrete, through a typical Texas summer of tough-to-take heat, through what seemed like a trillion little decisions, each with its own significant impact on our future home.

But we’re in. After a Thursday and Friday of working from 700 homes while the movers trucked our belongings and our tireless IT staff took down our infrastructure and reassembled it four miles down the road, we begin learning our new commutes and settling into our new space.

We’re in. So why can’t I sleep?

I no longer worry about getting the building done on time. It’s complete, right on schedule. I don’t toss and turn about cost overruns. It came in right on budget. I don’t worry about the debt we took on. Our amount of debt is still zero.

So why am I staring at the ceiling at 3 a.m. and talking out loud to my dog, Abby?

I worry about the noise levels. We’ve built a terrific building with bench-system seating that continues the commingling of disciplines that works so well for us. When you visit, you’ll feel the energy and collaboration between writers and planners, social strategists and print producers, account types and data analysts – working not in offices, not in cubicles, but at the same table. It’s culturally perfect. But does it come with a cost?

Will the writer needing some quiet time clamp on headphones to block out the media negotiator who’s passionately doing her job on his right and the client call going on to his left? That bothers me.

Will the smaller number of conference rooms, reduced in favor of many, many more casual conversation tables spread throughout the building, prove to be shortsighted? I’m not sure.

A large amount of space is dedicated to a fitness center, providing a convenient way for all of us to stay healthy. Will enough people use it? Will it attract only the same folks I’ve seen every day at the Cooper Fitness Center (whose memberships we dropped when we decided to house our own), or will it encourage the participation of those who never found enough time to work out?

If it does attract more people, which I hope it will, did we provide enough showers and locker room space? Not your typical agency concern, but I’ve never thought of us as a typical agency.

(By the way, speaking of health, we’re a completely smoke-free environment. No smoking on the terrace on the 11th floor, no smoking in the garage, no smoking anywhere on the property. I don’t lose a wink of sleep over that.)

There are smaller, little nagging things. Will four hookups for electric cars be enough? Will the combination of concrete floors and leather heels add yet another layer of distraction? Will interrupting the familiarities of things like pod breakfasts (a Friday gathering of the eight tenants in each grouping of our old cubicle system over bagels and Chick-fil-A Minis) be an issue?

In the end, we’ll figure it out. We’re a strong culture of smart, flexible problem-solvers. And the building is just too much fun not to find ways to adapt to our new surroundings.

So we’re in. And if I don’t get the best night’s sleep as we figure all this out, well, I guess that’s what the four nap rooms are for.

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