How My Daughter’s Rare Disease Diagnosis Transformed My Career

“You will never forget this day as long as you live,” Deb Fowler, a Managing Partner of Green Room Communications, told me on August 19, 2020, and she was right (as she often is!). That was the day my younger daughter was diagnosed with a lifechanging, debilitating, rare disease that we never saw coming; it completely flattened us as a family. As we slowly started to pick ourselves back up and began the seemingly endless scheduling of doctors’ appointments, frantic late night Google searches, and desperate calls to family and friends, I had no idea how I would ever work again or, honestly, if I would even care about work again.

But I did. After taking a brief leave of absence to get our arms around the diagnosis and treatment protocols (unfortunately there is no cure), I returned to work with the full support of leadership and all my colleagues. The biggest surprise to me? Work truly saved me. It gave me a focus when I never thought I could focus again. I have something to contribute. I can solve problems here that I cannot solve in my life.

Since I work in healthcare communications, I believe I am a better strategic partner to my clients than I have ever been before. We talk a lot about being “patient centric” and focusing on the ecosystem surrounding the patient. The insights I have gained as a caregiver and patient advocate give me a perspective that is invaluable – for me and my clients.

As we near the one-year mark of her diagnosis, here are a few insights that have made me better than ever at work:

  • Everyone is dealing with something – approaching each other and each interaction with a sense of empathy and openness, knowing people may be dealing with something that has nothing to do with you or their work has released me from taking things personally.
  • Perspective is everything – I know what matters and what doesn’t and that allows me a freedom and confidence in my work that I never had before.
  • Every (work) problem has a solution – What we do is important, especially in the healthcare space and there are solutions. Lean on your teams and listen to a variety of opinions – just like I have learned to do since no one doctor has my daughter’s cure – listen and learn.
  • Give your opinion – What’s the worst that could happen; someone will disagree with you? You can handle that. You have and will, handle worse.

I hope others don’t have an August 19, 2020, but I know they will. I am not the first person to deal with an unexpected family crisis. My hope for you is that you can take some of the lessons I have learned and apply them to your own career – without the crisis.


Are you at a deciding point about what’s next after graduation? If so, I encourage you to remain open to opportunity, take risks and try experiences outside of your comfort zone. As a rising college senior with NO IDEA of my future career path, embracing this mentality led me to an internship in healthcare communications at Green Room. Fast forward six years – I am now a Senior Account Supervisor leading multiple projects for pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical clients and managing our Intern and Fellowship Programs.

The Green Room Fellowship Program stemmed from a trend our account leads noticed that recent college graduates needed to further develop their foundational skillset and gain more relevant experience before transitioning into a full-time, entry-level position. Fellows work alongside team members to gain hands-on experience that helps set them up for a successful career path in healthcare PR. The program has proven to be such a success that we often look to hire directly from the program if staffing needs allow.

I often reflect on the strong and diverse exposure I had as a newcomer and how these experiences introduced me to and created a passion for healthcare communications. Green Room’s development programs cultivated many of the skills I still leverage in my role as a Senior Account Supervisor. Who knew six years ago that I would be leading corporate strategy, HR/change management and product communications for leading pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies.

The best guidance I can give to someone applying to our programs is this: If you show up with an eagerness to learn and a “can do” spirit, Green Room can provide a growth trajectory to help launch your career and accelerate your professional development.

Fellowship Qualifications

  • Highly motivated recent college graduates or graduate students
  • Degree in public relations, communications, marketing or related field
  • Previous relevant internship/professional experiences
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Exceptional writing skills
  • Growth-focused mindset, independent self-starter who aligns with agency Core Values
  • Prior healthcare experience is a plus, but not a requirement

If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about current fellowship opportunities at Green Room, please reach out to or visit


Best Kept Secrets of a Working Mom

Working Mom. The term comes with a sense of accomplishment and the ever-present wave of emotions. I cannot tell you I have it all figured out, but I CAN tell you how I have learned to create physical and mental space to focus on one thing at a time, one day at a time.

It took a long time to find my stride and a workplace that allowed and trusted me to do both jobs well. When I first met with Green Room, I knew something was different. I talked with one employee after the next – each a working mom herself. I kept hearing words like “balance,” “trust,” “flexibility,” and “support.” It became clear that Green Room was really “walking the walk.” And what says it all is the retention rate, which speaks volumes about how great their culture truly is. In addition to finding a great culture fit for me, below are key components that have been tested and tweaked to help me remain successful at the balancing act. And even today, I am still refining my methods.

Time Management. As a working mom, I often feel like there is just not enough time in the day for it all. Something that helps me make the most of each day is being smart about how I spend my time. Below are four consistent steps I take to organize my time.

  1. Reviewing my work and family calendars on Sunday to sort out coverage.
  2. Prepping and reprioritizing my to-do list every afternoon for the next day ahead.
  3. Booking dedicated time in my calendar to work on certain projects.
  4. Allowing for short “brain breaks” throughout the day to help me bring my best, most strategic self to my next assignment.

Communication. In healthcare PR, it is literally our job to communicate about complex topics and corporate issues and still, the struggle is real to communicate our own personal and professional needs. One element of the Green Room culture that I love is that asking for help is encouraged. When I feel my workload getting too full, I raise my hand. It ends up being better for me (mentally), but also allows us to get more done for our clients, faster.

Work-Life Integration. Whether you are a mom or not, everyone deserves balance. Work-life integration is one of the most important pillars of Green Room’s cultural values and one of the most prominent reasons I wanted to work here. It allows us to set personal boundaries to prioritize our lives and, in turn, bring our best selves to work. Our “in-and-out” Slack channel is also great to quickly communicate when I am stepping away to drop something off at daycare or to take a “brain break.” The key is to communicate and have a supportive team at work (and at home!) to cover for you. Likewise, there are high-priority work events that come up and for these, I rely on my village at home (e.g., husband, daycare, mother-in-law, meal subscriptions!)

Flexibility. As most working parents know, you cannot always plan for the unexpected. Life happens and no matter how strong your village is or how many back-up plans are in place, flexibility is one of the most important assets to keeping it “seemingly” all together. For those days, I flex my hours by picking up an extra hour or two on a day when I know things will have calmed down.

As a parent, I feel it is incredibly important for my children to see how hard I work AND how present I am when I am around them. I am setting an example for possibilities I hope they see for themselves one day. I want them to know that they can achieve anything through hard work and dedication and, most importantly, that you do not have to sacrifice one role over the other. Working at Green Room allows me to feel more whole as a person; able to chase my passion, provide for my family and remain completely plugged into both worlds. My only regret is not having worked here sooner.


By Linda Chang, Talent Resource Manager at Green Room Communications

One year into working from home and here we are: braver, stronger, and more connected than ever. While COVID-19 tested companies’ remote work abilities, Green Room did what we already do best — we pivoted (word of 2020!) to elevate our existing infrastructure. Along the way, we uncovered important insights.

Flexibility and Agility is Key

When our office-based team packed up our desks last March, we thought work-from-home would last two weeks. We quickly realized we needed to prepare for the long haul. Luckily, Green Room already established a nimble and flexible work culture – we refer to it as work/life integration. This term took on a deeper meaning as team members juggled work priorities with the demands of home life, virtual school, and keeping families safe and healthy. Having the tools already in place, like the ability to flex our hours, allowed us to remain responsive to clients while still being able to take care of personal needs. This already built-in mutual level of understanding, trust, and support gave team members a fighting chance at getting it all done, because as we all know – it takes a village.

Team Connectivity and Mental Health are Essential

Since we are still not able to physically be together in the office, we added to our arsenal of collaboration platforms like Slack and quickly got onboard with Zoom and FaceTime. We also implemented Coffee Buddies – a weekly video coffee chat with a team member selected at random. We held a virtual Trivia happy hour, Halloween costume contest, and shared Starbucks QR codes for a pick-me-up. Perhaps, most important, we prioritized offering bi-weekly meditation sessions and encouraged brain breaks, walks, and lunches away from laptops. During a time where we are being asked to stay home and distance, we found that little acts like this go a long way to show how much we value our team. These new staples will live in our culture well beyond COVID.

New Hires Need More Connected Onboarding

Our new hire onboarding process was reworked to be fully virtual … and it worked! Aside from the logistics of shipping laptops, issuing cell phones, accessing tools, enrolling for benefits, etc. – our biggest challenge was: how do we welcome new team members virtually and help them feel comfortable and connected on day one?

In addition to bringing our new hires in on virtual team activities like Coffee Buddies, we also now pair them with an onboarding buddy, schedule more and quicker onboarding meetings for their first weeks, welcome them on Slack (followed by an onslaught of excited team member welcome messages) and introduce them at our quarterly Town Halls. We are currently working to up our game in company swag and with a team welcome video. And like all processes, we listen to feedback and implement as we go.

A Look Ahead

Vaccines are finally here, and we are so hopeful to reunite in person sometime soon. This pandemic threw big curve balls, but one positive is how it shined a light on the importance of work culture. Green Room is proud we had a strong foundation that is flexible and respectful of our teams’ lives outside of work, so that we bring our best selves to work. Our advice: listen to what your employees truly need, create a space for feedback, make real solutions happen, and do not be afraid to pivot when things change. This will ultimately strengthen your culture, help to retain talent, and better position your team for success post-pandemic.


Stand Out in a (Pandemic) Job Hunt

By Linda Chang, Talent Resource Manager at Green Room Communications

Job searching is hard. Add a pandemic on top of it and forget it … the act itself feels like you are climbing up an escalator that is moving in the opposite direction. It is a tough job market. Companies are closing their doors with many more on the brink of closing. But as I write this, there is hope. With vaccine programs rolling out, we are taking steps globally to get back to where we once were.

As a talent resource manager, I spend a lot of time scanning resumes and talking to candidates. I see my role as a matchmaker – connecting experience with opportunity. Even though interviews are now conducted on Zoom, the essence of interviewing has not changed. Hiring managers want to get to know you and give you an opportunity to get to know the company. Below are some tips that have helped job seekers successfully stand out to me:

  • Start by updating your LinkedIn profile and include a photo. If you know who the hiring manager is, you can also reach out via LinkedIn.
  • Perhaps most important right now, is to get comfortable with Zoom! Without the ability to meet face-to-face, there is more emphasis to make sure your personality makes it across the screen.
  • Prepare an elevator speech in anticipation of the ever-popular statement, “Tell me about yourself.”
  • Review the job requirements and look for parallels. Be prepared to tout your skills and experience as it relates to the job. Keep it short and sweet.
  • Research the company. Understand the company’s mission, values, and services.
  • Be curious and ask questions. You are interviewing the company, too! Your questions will provide insight into your thought process and can be a segue into how you can add value.
  • Send a follow-up thank you note or email.
  • If the process moves slowly, periodically check in so that you stay top of mind. Things can change in an instant and showing proactivity and continued interest says a lot about you.

This is all basic advice, but when you are not interviewing on a consistent basis, it is easy to forget these things!

If you are in a lull and are having a hard time finding a job, make the most of the time you have right now and be productive with it. Employers want to see initiative and drive. Spruce up your resume to make sure it is easy to read and highlights your relevant experience. Continue to apply for jobs. Consider freelancing – often times these opportunities can lead to full time jobs. Obtain additional training and certifications. Network and volunteer your talents.

Most importantly, keep showing up. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and continue to climb your way up the downward escalator. With time, patience, and perseverance, you will make it up to the top.

If you or someone you know is interested in learning about current opportunities at Green Room, please reach out to me at!



Reflecting on the Year with Gratitude

By: Deborah Fowler and Karen Carolonza, Managing Partners, Green Room Communications 

As 2020 comes to an end (finally!), we find ourselves reflecting on a year that will forever be synonymous with a pandemic that upended lives in every corner of the world. Staying positive remains a struggle as humanity continues to navigate COVID uncertainties. We have been collectively grieving—our old “taken-for-granted” routines, face-to-face connections, embraces, in-person schools and businesses, and for many, loved ones taken by this complex disease.

If we learned anything from this challenging year, it’s that beauty and growth can be found in the darkness. For the two of us, as women, mothers and leaders of Green Room, this took form in the practice of gratitude for others and ourselves.

As research shows, the practice of expressing gratitude can benefit your well-being, reduce stress, boost happiness and increase positivity in relationships, and is associated with better sleep, mental resilience and physical health. Anyone working in public relations knows these are all critical for success!

When things erupted in the U.S. last March, the Green Room leadership team quickly paused to carefully determine how to keep our employees safe while also allowing our business to thrive. Our nimble, flexible business model gave us a huge head start. Green Room already operated under a “work from anywhere” mantra, so we were able to seamlessly flex into all-remote operations. This avoided workflow disruption and allowed our team to keep activity in motion, which was especially important for our healthcare clients on the frontlines of COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutic efforts.

While remaining client-focused, we also prioritized self-care. As they say, you have to put your oxygen mask on first so you can better assist others. Our Green Room team members have always been caring and supportive of one another (and our clients), and this year each of us elevated that compassion in new ways. We launched round-robin virtual coffee chat sessions to create a space during the workday for 1:1 relationship building across the company. We held biweekly meditation sessions on Fridays via Zoom and created a Slack channel for sharing positive news and little slices of gratitude daily. We came together not only for virtual town halls and brainstorms, but for fun team-building events like happy hours, trivia nights and escape room competitions.

With our own masks tightly fastened, literally and figuratively, we also stayed nimble. With each passing month, we leaned into what our team needed – from flexible schedules, tech support and ideation of more effective ways to share strategic thinking. Through it all, we found our way.

We are grateful for our smart, kind and compassionate Green Room team (including colleagues, consultants and clients) who adapted positively to the “new normal” during such an abnormal time in our lives, even when it seemed like everything around us was in utter chaos. We are grateful that our team continues to get bigger. We are grateful for our clients who stayed the course and continued to put patients first and who treated us as true partners, allowing us to help uncover solutions in new territories.

In a year of loss, change and grief, we found silver linings while practicing gratitude. For that, we will be forever thankful. Here’s to a happy and rejuvenating holiday season, and a healthy 2021!

Deb and Karen

Work-Life Integration at Green Room

By: Heather Rose, Senior Vice President, Client Navigation, Green Room Communications

We asked Heather Rose, SVP of Client Navigation, about her approach to work-life integration to flex and thrive in a work-from-home role. Here’s what she had to say!

How long have you worked fully remote? About nine years now—five with Green Room. I’ve worked with NJ- and NYC-based agencies from Connecticut, Toronto and now Maryland in full-time, part-time and consulting roles. I have run the gamut! Green Room’s model empowers me to keep growing my career despite not living in New Jersey where our physical office space is located.

What tools or resources does Green Room offer to promote success in a remote environment? In the normal (pre- and hopefully post-COVID) state, we have team members who are office-based, hybrid (a flex of home and office) and fully remote like me. We’ve always been at the forefront of connectivity—integrating the Slack collaboration platform and Zoom into our daily routines years before the pandemic made them a necessity. For quick things, I’ll Slack someone; it’s analogous to talking over the cubicle. I’m on the phone a lot, too, but have noticed a trend toward more Facetime and Slack video calls. I love that my clients are opting into this, too. It’s been a refreshing shift to have weekly Zoom calls where everyone can see one other; I feel like it’s deepened relationships and allowed for greater strategic spontaneity.

How do you create a break between work and home without a commute or clear end to the workday? Ordinarily my sons’ school routines create the flow for my work hours. Now that COVID-19 has thrown that out the window  —  especially as my third grader is fully virtual until January (insert screaming face emoji here!) — setting consistent routines and clear communication about schedules is essential. I am fully focused during my workday window, which is generally 9am-3:30pm. Then, I shut my laptop. My clients and teams know I’m still reachable for urgent things later in the day, but I am an advocate for selfcare and family time. It’s important to be able to “turn off” and I am appreciative that Green Room has shaped a culture where that’s encouraged.

The intro mentions “work-life integration.” How is that different from “work-life balance?” I consider work-life balance an old school, push-and-pull phrase. Meaning, you put in your 8+ hours in a chair at the office…and try to keep the “+” under control so you have time for a life outside of work. At Green Room, we prefer the term work-life INTEGRATION. It’s based on a foundational trust that we are all committed to doing the best work for our clients, our agency and ourselves, every day. We meet or beat deadlines, we show up powered on for brainstorms and client conversations. We care, we are accountable and we have high standards. We deliver. And within that space, there is permission to flex into the other areas of our lives even if those things fall during the standard workday. For example, I recently worked at the beach and took a few hours mid-day to be with my family, signing back on in the evening to wrap up. If I need to step away for a doctor’s appointment or school meeting, I shift my schedule and don’t need to take PTO. This is an extraordinary benefit as a working mother; I never have to choose between work and family. I can create time for everything. 

What elements of WFH surprised you or would surprise others? That I’m never lonely. I’m talking to clients and teammates all day long during scheduled and spontaneous conversations. Also, that my location hasn’t hindered my ability to lead and nurture strong client and team relationships. It’s all about the effort you put in daily to build connections despite not being face-to-face. None of my colleagues or clients are back in the office yet and some have actually switched to permanently remote, so at this stage, pretty much everyone in my “space” has hit their stride with WFH. But I’m NOT surprised about that because PR pros are nimble! 

What is the best advice you have for someone who is making the switch to fully remote? Be present. Set expectations and form agreements with your teams about what your days and interactions will look like, and follow through. Also, prepare to pivot until you find the right flow. Be responsive, too. It can be hard to know if someone is heads-down on a project or not at their desk if they don’t reply promptly to Slacks and emails. If I need to be laser focused on something or step away for a bit, I post in our “In and Out” Slack channel, which is like a work status blackboard across the agency. Also, before COVID, even though I was fully remote, I always made sure to work in some in-person trips to see clients and teams when possible. Despite technology innovations, sometimes nothing beats face-to-face interaction.

Any closing thoughts? We’re going to see more and more people in PR working remotely past COVID. It’s fantastic to work with an agency that’s always recognized that good work can happen anywhere, and it’s exciting to help shape “where we go from here.” I know that Green Room will stay ahead of the curve for our clients and our team members. But one also has to be very self-motivated to thrive in a remote environment. It’s all about what you create for yourself!

Keeping Up with COVID in Communications


By: Diana Hatton, Senior Strategist, Green Room Communications

As the week of March 17 unfolded, employees abandoned their office buildings, children rushed home from school and store shelves were stripped in reaction to the bleak news from overseas. As seasoned communicators, we have a healthy respect for the news “cycle” – the time that passes from when the media reports on an event to public reaction. In today’s world, the news cycle has shortened, from the 24-hour news cycle created in the cable era to the instantaneous news cycle, that is now defined by social media. While every company has its own news cycle, on March 17, the entire country was forced to communicate around a single event as we adapted to the impact of COVID-19, navigating immediate and drastic changes to protect the health of Americans.

The tone one takes at a time of crisis is critical, and with the now-instantaneous news cycle that tone needs to be agile. For corporate leaders, there is a time to listen and a time to get involved in conversations – and it is a fine art to know when to act.

Many of our health care clients have been turning to Green Room for advice on communicating about COVID-19 with employees, customers, consumers and other stakeholders, especially as we work our way through the phases of restrictions and evolution of our messages. Our recommendation is to first assess the current news environment. Any communications must be both valuable and timely to make it worth entering the conversations on COVID-19 and putting a company’s reputation at risk.

Here are some tips we share with our clients:

  • Make sure your message is agile, and be willing to pivot. Understand the value of the information you plan to relay to your various audiences and reassess your message if the news changes overnight. Consider these questions: Is the time right? Is the topic relevant? Do you have an important contribution to the latest conversation? How could the communication be perceived?
  • Be authentic and clear, even if it is “just an update.” Avoid adding confusion by using clear and concise messages and don’t be afraid to say you are still working toward the answers. Everyone is dealing with information overload, so keep communications tight, transparent and, most important, strategically timed.
  • Use the right channels. Consider who you want to reach and adjust your message accordingly. Short, informal videos from a home office are easy to produce and can make leaders seem more approachable and human. LinkedIn can be a great way to reach internal employees too, but it is also a public platform. In general, it’s safe to assume that your message may become public, even if originally communicated internally. Look at each and every message through the public lens.
  • Show compassion. Don’t forget to listen and show compassion. Even as restrictions start to lift in many areas, and we navigate getting back to the office, this remains a stressful time for everyone as we adjust to the “new norm” and your employees, partners and customers are exhausted.

If you are a part of a nonprofit organization and in need of guidance on how to communicate to your staff and others in your network, Green Room is available for pro bono, one-time calls to help.


Position Summary:

Green Room’s Graphic Designer sets the stylistic and artistic direction as well as delivers execution of materials and campaigns in print, email, video and on the web with a strong emphasis in PowerPoint and digital. Should be able to assess data from multiple sources (analytics, user experience tools) to help drive the design decisions. Often collaborates with a copywriter in developing creative ideas. The Graphic Designer uses their knowledge of current graphic design software to produce graphic art and visual materials for a range of materials, including breakthrough PowerPoint decks, infographics, posters, Web sites, and collateral materials for both internal purposes and for Green Room’s Healthcare and Pharmaceutical clients. Generates and manipulates graphic images, animations, sound, text and video into consolidated and seamless multimedia programs. Evaluate emerging technologies and provides thought leadership and perspective within the organization for adoption where appropriate.

Reporting Relationships:

The Graphic Designer reports to the Executive Vice President, Operations and Strategic Integration (or Senior Graphic Designer / Art Director, as appropriate).

Credentials and Experience:

  • Seven to ten years of professional studio/agency or in-house experience in both print and digital
  • Expert with Mac OSX operating systems
  • Proficient with design software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver
  • Proficient with Microsoft Office suite; expert in PowerPoint
  • Experience with Web-oriented design software (i.e., WordPress, Visual Composer)
  • Knowledge of website analytics (e.g. Google Analytics)
  • Knowledge of website user experience tools (e.g. Hotjar, Optimizely)
  • Illustration skills a plus
  • Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design or related field, or equivalent experience in the design field
  • Design experience for Healthcare and Pharmaceutical clientele preferred

Essential Skills:

  • Possesses solid communication skills; verbal, written and visual
  • Demonstrates independent thinking and an autonomous workstyle, yet collaborates well
  • Exhibits professional demeanor and style
  • Exceptional creativity with a variety of media
  • Anticipates well and manages time effectively
  • Capable of handling a variety of projects from numerous clients
  • Delivers professional, error-free, high-quality work that consistently meets and exceeds expectations
  • Demonstrates organizational skills and ability to multi-task and balance priorities
  • Listens carefully to directions, takes notes when necessary and is proactive about seeking additional information/clarification
  • Moves projects forward to achieve objectives
  • Proficient in Infographic, PowerPoint and digital/print design
  • Strong attention to detail and is dedicated to producing quality work
  • Effectively meets deadlines

Embodiment of Green Room’s Core Values:

  • We are a team of independent self-starters
  • We are authentic
  • We have a client-first mentality
  • We have a can-do spirit
  • We show grit

Physical Demands: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Work Environment: The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. The noise level in the work environment is usually quiet.

About Green Room Communications: Green Room is a nimble healthcare agency with a unique model that offers a new approach to classic communications needs. Green Room harnesses a global network of award-winning public relations experts to provide customized teams with specific skill sets to address individual projects. From corporate positioning and PR strategy to media and digital relations to integrated creative design, Green Room’s skill-based model ensures scalable support for changing client needs. The company’s unique ability to harness this intellectual capital and infuse it with energy and passion provide a competitive edge. Green Room was named a WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprise in March 2016 by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

Green Room Communications provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion or belief, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, family or parental status, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, Green Room Communications complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment. We are committed to providing employees with a work environment free of discrimination or harassment.

Please click here to view this listing on LinkedIn

By Deborah Fowler, Managing Partner, Green Room Communications

As a former TV journalist, open space is like going home. Newsrooms have embraced the open space model for decades, and as Green Room officially moves into our new office space, we join newsrooms, as well as trendsetters like Google and Facebook, with an open space floor plan.

In an open office, there are no walls, barriers or fully enclosed spaces separating team members. In the newsroom, I developed a new way of working. I tapped into new skillsets where I could actually listen as I was thinking about another thought, with one ear to the police scanner while simultaneously writing news copy for the 6 pm broadcast.

We work with many colleagues who loathe the open space model. Personally, I cherish it.

As communicators who are rooted in journalism, Karen and I designed an office environment that fosters informal and frequent communication. It’s what we do best, and our workplace should reflect and build on our strengths.

Open space layouts have been shown to improve communication and collaboration among co-workers. Taking down walls both physically and figuratively fosters spontaneous teamwork and problem solving. I’ve noticed, and research supports, often these types of informal interactions can be incredibly productive. People can generate and bounce ideas off one another without the constraint of a more structured and scheduled meeting.

In the newsroom environment, open office space cultivates camaraderie and teamwork among colleagues simply because constant exchange is welcome and encouraged. Everyone shares, contributes and gives input. People get first-hand and frequent exposure to different work styles and how colleagues approach tasks. Problem solving can be more efficient when it’s informal, and people just work better together when physical barriers are removed. There’s a greater sense of community and less hierarchy.

Yes, open offices can be noisy and sometimes disruptive for more focused tasks like writing, data analysis or conference calls. However, like a newsroom with edit bays and sound booths, we have places employees can go for private conversations.

Our new office design includes several “huddle rooms” where teams can meet privately, take calls or work undisturbed when more focused concentration is required. Flexible work spaces – where people have the option to work in various places around the office – provide options for a change of scenery or to get into a new mindset. And a nearby Starbucks on the building premises is an added perk.

It’s important that employees feel a connection to their space. Studies show open space offices are successful when people have a greater sense of what psychologists call place identity. When they feel their space is truly collaborative and a reflection of themselves, they take greater pride in their workplace. They’re also more engaged and positive about their work. We’re encouraging people to personalize their space with pictures, plants and other things that help them feel more connected to it.

The new space does come with some rules of common courtesy. We encourage colleagues to be mindful of those around them. If someone looks like they’re trying to focus, don’t holler across the room. If a team member is on a call, keep the volume down. And if you’re the one who needs to focus, don’t be afraid to let your neighbors know, or try headphones to drown out background noise.

It turns out communication really is the key to a productive and successful open office. No wonder it works for us!

Come visit us at 1719 Route 10 East, Suite 318, in Parsippany!