A Cup of Espresso Communications – Blog #4

I have been interning at Espresso Communications for a little over a month now. Espresso is a full-service communications agency that primarily deals with B2B. The company was founded in 2004 and has since gained the prestige and recognition within the professional services and consulting industry. Many of Espresso’s clients are world renowned – Airbnb, Verizon, and OtterBox to name a few.

This is my first internship experience and adjusting to the culture was a relatively smooth transition. I was coming in with no background in PR and was anxious about whether my work and skills were up to par with the Espresso’s standards.

The workplace is located on the first floor of an office building. The open floor plan allows for everyone to see the whole team and talk with one another. Many common aspects that describe Australia’s workplace culture can be seen at Espresso, such as how there is more of a flat organizational structure, swearing is common, and everyone is more direct and straightforward when communicating.

I already came in contact with Daphne, my site supervisor, and Roisin, an account coordinator, having completed a skype interview back in December. I also exchanged emails with the officer manager, Vanessa, to discuss in more detail my weekly schedule. Therefore, I was familiar with a few of my coworkers prior to arriving in Sydney. On my first day, I was greeted by Vanessa and spent most of my time learning about the company. My work email also wouldn’t be set up until the following week; therefore, my first week of my internship was performing small tasks and adjusting to the office dynamic.

I also had a small chat with Corrie, the CEO at Espresso, in which she welcomed me to her company and we talked about what I wanted from this internship. At first, it seemed as though I was just a fly on the wall observing this foreign place. Because I started my internship on January 20th, everyone was slowly adjusting to being back at work since the office was closed for summer break. Consequently, everyone was very focused with his/her own tasks and I did not have many opportunities to greet my coworkers individually. Fridays, however, is when the office celebrates “wine time” which is where everyone sips some wine and nipples on food after work. I can then sit down and actually get to know my coworkers.

Many of Espresso’s clients are in the technology industry. I have been learning more about data security and all things in the technology world. I am intending to pursue a major in business information systems and this experience has helped me gain more information on how actual companies are performing and competing. Because I do not have the background and credentials to take on a client, I have been performing small tasks to assist my coworkers with their accounts. Such work includes, transcribing conference meetings, researching more about a company, social media coverage, and creating cover notes. I am also learning heavily about the Australian style of writing and how media is localized and published to the target markets. For example, Australians use less commas in their writing compared to Americans. Also, when titling articles, only the first word in the sentence has a capital letter, while the rest of the words are all lowercased.

There are some unexpected events that emerged. I was made aware just recently that the office is relocating to a new building that is a 15-minute walk from the current location. The new office would be a shared work space, but it seems as though the building is bigger and has more amenities. The official move will be on March 18th. Although this forces me to adjust my commute time, I am sure I will enjoy the new office. Another shocking event is how two of my coworkers are leaving Espresso in the coming weeks. Although I have only known them for a month, the work environment will certainly feel different without them.

It is now the midway point in my internship. My site supervisor has been very helpful in delegating tasks that allow me to get a greater overview of working at a PR agency. I have also been shadowing my coworkers to learn how they accomplish PR tasks, such as media releases. I am becoming more comfortable with everyone and I look forward to gaining more knowledge about PR.

One key point that I will continue to do in order to adjust more within Espresso is to continuously ask questions if I need further clarification and proactively ask if there are any more tasks that I can complete. Also, it is important for you to put yourself out there by socializing with everyone in the office. This not only makes you feel comfortable at work, but also allows for strong relationships to form.