Following my first three weeks at Sharp, I’ve found that the office culture is best suited to those who have a strong social intuition. The office is full of out-going individuals who have strong abilities to multitask. The lines between purely professional correspondence and off-the-clock chatting are more blurred than I thought they would be. The benefits are obvious— the workplace is more relaxed and facilitates genuine friendships between employees, which studies show is conducive to increased productivity and improvement in work quality. That is not to say, however, that Sharp has completely abandoned its expectations of workplace decorum. Since many of my immediate supervisors are relatively close to me in age, it is important to be able to read these social situations well. Given the ever-changing nature of the media landscape Sharp tries to access and our regular contact with some finnecky clients, being able to switch from the informal to formal communication sometimes almost instantly is crucial. Being fluent in both forms of interpersonal communications with colleagues, clients, and media contacts is essential to being an effective member of the Sharp team. Informal is important not only because of the friendly and outgoing nature of many of the employees, but because much of the work involves a creative and knowledgeable perspective on pop culture, and an understanding of what the public is interested in seeing and reading. There are many opportunities where an off-the-clock conversation with a colleague over a lunch break could lead to a pitching idea for a client. Formal communication is equally important to ensure that all employees and clients are up-to-date on our plans, and have a transparent view into the work that is being done to accomplish the client’s goals or vision. At first, balancing this change in conversational tone was a bit nerve-wracking as I did not want to take liberties with my supervisors that were unprofessional. However, now that I have more of an established role on my team and I have more opportunities to present my abilities, I have found that being friendly and casual with colleagues allows me to better understand their needs and the goals of their projects, which in turn improves the quality of my work. This informal workplace communication is balanced with the professionalism that I show my supervisors and Sharp shows their clients on all professional communication. I look forward to further developing these “people” skills and learning about professional yet still approachable language when communicating with clients through my role with Sharp.
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