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Company culture in the workplace has been one of the many things that COVID-19 has changed forever.

We’ve lived through lockdown, travel bans and job loss. Understandably, it’s the workplace where the lifestyle change has been most profound. Office buildings usually alive with activity – that office buzz created by individuals and teams collaborating on projects, sharing ideas or simply chatting – now stand almost empty. Those face to face meetings where you build a rapport and gain trust, have been replaced by zoom calls. Monumental changes to the way we live and work have reinforced our inability to create, and maintain, a solid company culture when everyone is working at home alone.

There’s no denying the global pandemic has changed the workplace landscape. The last time there was a change of this magnitude was in 1926 when the standardisation of the five-day working week was rolled out by Henry Ford. This was done over several years, so it’s no surprise that according to a recent Workforce Survey, 54% of workers say their jobs have become more difficult since COVID-19. And while we’re not out of the woods yet, some countries are slowly opening up and beginning a COVID normal way of life. But instead of rushing back to bustling pre-COVID office buildings, companies around the world are expanding their working from home policies. Survey data reveals that 74% of companies plan to permanently shift to more remote work post-COVID. So what does this mean for company culture? And what can be done to ensure the happiness and wellbeing of your employees?

What is Company Culture?

Firstly, what is culture? Culture is a way the company as a whole operates towards fulfilling its goals. There is no published policy or document that can create a corporate culture, or guarantee that people will practice the company’s values each day. It is influenced by how the people, especially the leaders, behave day in and day out. So, culture can make or break your strategy.

If a company was a person, culture would be its personality. Considering its importance, maintaining a positive company culture and getting employees to “buy-in” to a company’s vision is vital. If employees aren’t enthusiastic about the vision, they won’t be enthusiastic about executing a strategy for it.

Every company and culture is different. It’s not something that generally changes quickly, rather it adjusts and morphs slowly over time. Company culture reflects the realities of people working together every day. While some employees admitted to being more productive at home during the pandemic, most miss the impromptu chats, the debriefs in the kitchen and the access to learning from their mentors.

Togetherness unites us and gives us a much needed sense of belonging. This is as important in the office space as it is in our personal life.

Many companies are embracing a flexible approach of time at home and time in the office. Coworking spaces and flexible office spaces have become even more appealing as companies try to re-establish an internal cohesiveness. Employees will still need a place to come together, connect and build relationships.

Direction, guidance and mentoring are imperative for employee success. They’re also three things that can be difficult to do remotely. Flexibility is also key. By adapting to the change now, companies will be better equipped for the work world of the future and will be able to deliver a more positive working experience.

Flexible office space, regular face-to-face meetings and collaboration are all imperative to maintain culture in this brave new world.

It’s too early to tell what the mid and long term changes to organisational culture will be, but if company culture is the secret sauce that defines the nature of an organisation, coworking spaces may well be the bun that holds it all together.

There’s no doubt that working from home has its benefits. The comfy clothes, lack of commute, readily available snacks. But how long before the shine wears off and you find yourself wanting to see other people in person, join in on a company lunch, or just get an answer to a simple question quickly and not have to wait for an email response? And let’s not get started about Zoom…

We have an easy fix for this – an office space designed for flexibility. A coworking space.

You can come in to the office space whenever you feel like you want to get dressed, see people, use some decent wifi and get free coffee. Or you can commit to a more permanent flexible schedule (that’s a thing now!) where you use a space to work from two to three times a week and spend the rest of your time at home.

Here are the top 10 reasons why working from home doesn’t always work…

1. Isolation –

living alone and being at home on your own all day and then again at night can start to have a serious impact on your mental health and wellbeing. As human beings we are hardwired to be part of a tribe and connect with others. The community and ambience at a coworking space and office space will give you the social interaction you crave to cure your loneliness and make you feel less isolated.

2. Kids –

we love ’em. We do. But not whilst we are trying to write a proposal / meet with a client / get literally anything done during our workday. Having a space away from the offspring is a definite bonus for your productivity.

3. Work / Life Separation –

perhaps you are not commuting to the office anymore, but working from home means you are always at work. Many people have stated that they have worked longer hours since being confined to their homes as they don’t ‘switch off’ at the end of the day. Instead they keep answering emails or doing what would normally be tasks to be done during a standard work day. It’s fine at first right? A few minutes here, a few minutes there; but before you know it it’s 9pm and you’re still on your laptop.

4. Distractions –

SO. MANY. DISTRACTIONS. I’ll just put a load of washing on. Get the dinner started early. Quickly pop to the shops. You’re being distracted to the point of not actually being able to focus on anything properly at all.

5. Lack of Motivation –

working in an office space with people who are focused can give your own productivity and focus a boost. There’s an energy about being around other people who are working that is contagious. Unless you are an incredibly self-motivated person every hour of every day, this is unlikely to translate to working from home.

6. Technology and Connectivity –

do you have lightning fast fibre wifi in your house designed to cope with large files, video conferencing and maintain a certain rate of uploads and downloads? I didn’t think so. One of the many problems of working from home is the patchy internet and the lack of access to the latest technology. A coworking space provides you with the best technology you can get, plus dedicated staff to help you when you have problems.

7. Meetings –

have you lost count of the amount of Zoom meetings you’ve had where you have told at least one person “you’re on mute”? And don’t start with the cameras not being turned on, the calls that drop in and out due to bad wifi, the dogs barking in the background or the poor lighting. Being able to have a face to face meeting with your team in a beautiful environment with premium AV facilities is worth its weight in gold. Scheduling a regular meeting room designed for exactly that purpose will re-energise your team.

8. Coffee –

I bought a coffee machine for home during COVID (like the rest of the planet) but it just isn’t the same as having a beautifully brewed latte at Thrive on demand. Not to mention the chai lattes, hot chocolate and the range of herbal teas that are also available.

9. Snacks –

working from home affords you ready access the pantry AT ALL TIMES. This is neither good for your waistline nor your hip pocket. You find yourself unmotivated and distracted because you’re working from home and you reach for a snack because, well, because you can. Pull yourself together, make yourself some lunch and bring it into your new flexible workspace. Leave the snacks for netflix and chill time.

10. Cost –

not commuting to work, paying for parking or buying your lunch everyday saves money but have you noticed your electricity bills have skyrocketed, your food bill is astronomical (see point 9 about snacks) and you keep running out of paper for the printer. You’re not actually saving money working from home you’re just channelling the funds elsewhere. A good coworking space (like Thrive) will have included all utilities, cleaning, paper, coffee, tea, wifi and more in their fees so you only pay one price and everything else is taken care of. You can even bring your own lunch and store it in our fridge.

Thrive offers a beautiful, clean, COVID safe environment with day passes, punch passes, part-time and full time memberships as well as private office space and meeting rooms. Starting at $25 per day, it’s a cost effective answer to your working from home problems. There are no lock-in contracts and no upfront fees. Come on in and try us out, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Contact us today or read more about our COVID safe policies here.

Finding a home for yourself, your business or your team can be hard work. Researching, negotiating, setup costs and so on. It takes valuable time away from your real job – of running your business. So what are the things you should be looking out for when choosing a workspace?

Does your current space allow you to focus on your business?

If you are constantly working in your business – dealing with internet providers, filling up the printer with paper, buying coffee and paying utility bills instead of working on your business – it might be time to move to a flexible space where all these tasks are done for you and you have the ability to scale up or down without incurring unnecessary costs.

Does your workspace provide you with the technology you need?

To work effectively in the modern era employers and their staff need to be able access up to date technology such as hi-speed fibre internet, video conferencing facilities, printing and security, and the knowledge that there is IT support and backup to fix any problems, allowing seamless connectivity between a company and its clients.

Can you attract top talent into your business?

Eligible talent want more than just an office space. They want a space that supports positivity, wellness and mental stimulation. Quality design in your workspace should include spaces to be productive and collaborate with other team members, areas to have quiet time for serious work and places that encourage socialisation and connection. Light filled areas, plants and premium amenities including kitchens and end of trip facilities are a must.

How convenient is your office location?

Time is money and commuting to the office can take way too long out of everyone’s day. Choose a space that is close to public transport, has available parking and access to airports or major freeways. Having a workspace in a central, easy accessible location offers a level of convenience for your team. Any local amenities nearby such as cafes, restaurants or green areas are also a bonus!

Does your workspace support your business?

Making a home for your business within a shared workspace offers the added benefit of networking and collaboration with other like-minded business owners and individuals. A treasure trove talent pool of people who are dedicated to growing their future, just like you!

The Thrive Network has workspace for individuals, small businesses and larger teams to focus on doing their best work at the best value with flexible spaces, meeting rooms, private offices and collaboration spaces. Contact us today to learn more or organise a tour.