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Communities: The Underrated Factor Driving Workspace Success

A community, by definition, involves certain shared values, attitudes or beliefs. In the context of workspaces, the common feeling of camaraderie and security that a community brings is invaluable for any professional team. Increasingly, it is now seen as amongst the biggest motivators after monetary benefits for professionals.

With a healthy influx of millennials and Gen Y in the workforce, organisations have recognised that they must look beyond mere monetary benefits when attracting top talent. With almost 85% of employees said to be not engaged or actively disengaged at their work, how well enterprises ensure a feeling of belonging to their employers may make or break their long-term success.

Shared Experiences, Engagement & Collaboration

Whether it’s bi-weekly get-togethers or occasional birthday celebrations, events featuring shared experiences are an ideal opportunity for professionals to forge relationships outside of work, to network, and to build additional motivation. They encourage individuals to be more authentic, improve satisfaction, and most importantly - address our basic human need to feel belonged and desired.

An active community can help members look beyond the transactional nature of their work, even spark new ideas and add real business value previously unimagined.

Though the significance of communities at workplaces has risen substantially in the last few years, the concept and understanding of how they can work to the advantage of an enterprise has been around for much longer. In fact, one of the first principles that management students study is called “Espirit De Corps”, one of Henri Fayol’s principles of management. In it, Fayol stresses the importance of cohesion amongst employers in order to achieve maximum productivity.

However, what community has meant has changed drastically since Fayol gave us Espirit De Corps 104 years ago. With rapid advancements in tech, the world is a smaller place, changing the constraints of what constitutes a community. Traditionally, communities were constrained within geographical and cultural boundaries. But of course, that’s far from the case in today’s times. Millennials and Gen Y are not limited to physiological constraints to feel needed and to belong in a community.

Source: Lessman Index

Research conducted on over 200,000+ professionals has proved a direct correlation between the productivity of an organisation and its workspace’s contribution to a sense of community. Even professionals who aren’t particularly big on communities exhibit a preference for informal social interaction and collaboration. Unsurprisingly, the support for this is far higher on community-oriented professionals, often as much as 84-87%. Clearly, communities are an underrated factor driving workspace success.

The onus, therefore, is on the organisation to contribute to this sense of belonging for employees. The fundamental desire of human beings to network can be leveraged on multiple levels:

  • When organisations successfully build a positive community-focused workspace, overall employee morale has the potential to rise dramatically. Naturally, this leads to an improvement in employee effectiveness, with the majority even striving to outperform.

  • This increase in performance is directly rooted in their ambitions, which are fuelled by the contacts and networks that the organisation creates through its efforts in building communities. This also lowers employee turnover rates, reducing the need for organisations to spend more on recruitment and training costs.

Communities and Office Design

Teams spend a major portion of their time constricted to the walls of their offices. While issues can originate from monotony and boredom, a chain reaction can ultimately dampen productivity and in worse cases - stir attrition.

Agile workspaces with a focus on community events and collaboration are now increasingly looked at as the solution to this problem. In addition to offering an employee-friendly comfortable space to work from, they also provide opportunities to connect with people from a range of functions, hierarchy levels, and in the case of shared spaces - other organisations. This serves the dual purpose of fueling the professional ambitions of the workforce while also satisfying their primal desire to feel belonged. Additionally, coworking spaces also tend to have more focus on recreational and leisure activities to assist with breaks from monotony and work-induced stress.

With the rise in real estate prices, cost-effectiveness is a metric we view with a lot more interest. Apart from the obvious savings in real-estate costs, coworking spaces offer a number of cost-saving benefits via the community benefits they bring to the table.

The Circle.Work knits its community together with innovative and very people-centric events such as Friday Socials, networking marathons, health and fitness pop-ups, yoga and culinary sessions.


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