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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 Those face to face meetings where you build a rapport and gain trust, have been replaced by zoom calls.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.

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.

“Good conversation is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.” I don’t know about you, but I love a good quote. A catchy phrase or a few choice words can certainly improve your mood. But even if you prefer a latte, it’s hard to deny the power of a stimulating conversation.

We all know that good communication is an integral element to business success. Studies have shown that when a workplace focuses on good communication there is an increase in productivity and employee engagement. There is something empowering about a productive meeting. A room buzzing with activity, the gentle hum of constant chatter as thoughts are shared and problems solved. From one on one meetings and company gatherings to motivational letter boards, we are surrounded by the spoken and written word on a daily basis.

But could the recent global pandemic have highlighted the true value of not only words, but more crucially, positive words?

Touch has long been regarded as the most profound of connections. Even in the workplace touch is used for validation, celebration and general interaction, but Covid-19 has changed the way we live our lives. Social distancing is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. When we eventually return, the work environment will look very different. No more hugs, high fives, fist bumps, back pats or shoulder squeezes. Even everyone’s favorite ‘air kiss’ is a thing of the past.

But these ingrained habits are popular for a reason. They trigger the endorphin system in our brains and leave us feeling warm and positive. Human contact helps create a sense of comfort and well-being. In the absence of this, we have words. Moving forward we will need to verbalize a lot more things that we would normally express with touch.

At the beginning of a meeting, instead of slapping a few backs and shaking a few hands before getting down to business, we will rely on eye contact and a warm greeting. Thankfully, science has proven that positive words can actually strengthen our brain’s frontal lobe. A study where individuals read words of ‘loving kindness’ showed increases in self-compassion, mood elevation and reduced anxiety, while scientific research has shown that motivational quotes can make us feel the same as actually accomplishing something. And it’s not just us. Even the office plants benefit from positive words. In a study performed by the Royal Horticultural Society, researchers discovered that talking nicely to your plants helps them to grow faster!

Our ‘new normal’ won’t feel normal to begin with, but words and language used positively within companies, or by individuals working together, can impact morale and motivation, boost confidence and enhance performance. Positive reinforcement isn’t a new concept, but now more than ever, is the time for us to be proactive about creating small moments of happiness in our days. The way we interact with one another has been irrevocably altered. But while face masks and distancing will change the workplace landscape it doesn’t have to be negative. Whether it’s an encouraging comment in the corridor or an inspirational pick-me-up on a letter board, positive words really can make a difference and enable us to thrive.

These anxious and unusual times will bring unforeseen difficulties and while we can’t deny the need for positive communication, for those of us – like me – who will miss air kisses and fist bumps there is a socially distanced alternative. The Vulcan salute, will have to do for now. It worked well for Spock. Live long and prosper.

Mental health is one of the most important aspects of being able to succeed in business.

The workspace you choose to conduct your business is one of the most important decisions you can make.

There’s something special about a coworking space. The sound of quiet chatter, the hum of the coffee machine, the tap-tap-tap of fingers on the keys of a computer. Different companies, different industries and different freelancers working autonomously or collaboratively, but all sharing the same unique space.

Studies show that between 75% and 90% of coworkers love the personal connections that coworking makes possible. While statistics reveal that around 3.1 million people are currently using coworking spaces around the world. With this number estimated to grow to over 5 million in the next few years, it signifies more than just a trend, but a significant change in workplace culture.

Remember the classic sitcoms from the 80’s? Colleagues from a fictitious company would huddle around the water cooler gossiping about the interpersonal relationships of their fellow employees, or plotting their next move up the proverbial corporate ladder, before returning to their cubicle farm of desks to hammer away at their computers. The moment 5pm hit, they would clock off and head to the closest bar to continue the conversation. If you think it sounds amusing, you’re right. You just have to look past the 80’s dress sense.

But the office buildings of the 80’s and 90’s are disappearing. More and more people are moving away from the constraints of a typical office environment. According to recent research, only 6% of workers in the UK adhere to traditional working hours and they’re not alone.

The Future is Flexible.

Flexible hours, flexible work spaces, flexible bosses. Companies big and small are now part of the global economy. Modern technology means these companies are able to hire talent on-demand and these employees are able to work from anywhere. The rising remote work revolution has certainly meant more flexibility, but it has also left many employees isolated. Working remotely means that your colleague is no longer a few desks away. While the traditional job landscape is changing, one thing remains the same, the need for connection.

Connection is Vital

We’re all aware that connection is vital. Not just between employers and employees or co-workers, but between people. Being connected to others is important for our mental health and physical wellbeing and has been proven to improve our overall happiness. And happy people are more productive people.

Happy people collaborate more effectively, knowledge share more openly and put more time into nurturing workplace relationships. The corporate world is modernising and coworking spaces ensure the connection we crave isn’t lost. With lounge areas, hot desks, glass-walled private offices, write-on-the-wall meeting rooms, an abundance of greenery and a slew of inspirational quotes dotted around, coworking spaces not only bring people together, they promote productivity.

Rise of the Coworking Space

The popularity of the coworking space is showing no signs of slowing. Businesses and individuals are revelling in the constant supply of networking opportunities and the ability to foster new business contacts. They can collaborate with like-minded professionals in a modern upbeat environment that is highly motivating. With the annual Global Coworking UnConference reinforces the values to which the coworking movement aspires, including community, collaboration, learning, and sustainability. It’s no surprise the popularity of the coworking space is on the rise.

Dolly Parton knew long before the rest of us that working nine to five was no way to make a living. With 24 hour access, coworking spaces give us the flexibility to work when we want and the wellness and work-life balance to keep us happy. What could be better than that……

To explore the opportunities available for coworking and flexible space for your company, get in touch with us here.