3 Reasons to Have a Community Space at Work
We’re on year 3 of a global pandemic, and the effects of temporary WFH schedules are still ringing through workplaces globally. Should teams return to normal or try a hybrid schedule? And how do we interact with each other moving forward? On top of the general stress at work, the new change of pace brings even more anxiety. So, we’re making a case that now more than ever, the workspace needs a sense of community for three simple reasons that will resonate across the board and result in better mental health, higher productivity, and an overall better vibe in your workplace.
In the recent era of remote work culture, certain things are missing. Whether you stand by your new home office ready to fight against any mention of a commute or believe in the grand power of in-person small talk, there’s no denying that real human socialization is a benefit. Taking a breather and talking about the latest episode of The Bachelor does something mentally that permeates the rest of our tasks for the day. We know you introverts are reading this in disgust, but humans are social creatures. It’s ingrained in our inherent sense of survival, even more so when it comes to food. Lunch, dinner, breakfast, and dare we say, snack breaks are the most common times for people to socialize, talk about everything other than work, and ultimately recharge. So, upon our mass return-to-office, whether that’s next month or next year, it’s essential to consider a social space for your team.
Okay, but what about the bottom line? We’re glad you asked, so hear us out: socialization equals collaboration. Mic drop. No, but really, how many people are couped up at their desks and rarely venture out to talk with another team? Marketing stays with marketing, accounting with accounting, and HR with HR. Which is all fun and good as we make friends with our work neighbors, build relationships, and get things done. But what about the missed opportunities of collaboration? Our theory? Inter-team socialization is the birthplace of epic ideas. Magic happens when we break out of our cliques, expand our networks, and realize the other teams overlap with our skillsets and projects. Steve Jobs himself, one of the most recognizable and influential leaders of our time, believed so strongly in this that he designed Pixar offices’ atrium with one set of bathrooms located in the middle of the building. This grand plan was simply to encourage spontaneous encounters. While that may work, we can carry the same principle over to a more elegant solution with a break room that’s so irresistible, it’s always bustling with people and new ideas.
Give a sense of freedom and flexibility
There’s this idea of “the third place.” It’s a place outside of 1) your home and 2) your workplace, where you spend the other third of your time. The third place is often marketed with coffee shops but can be anywhere else where you escape the other two. There’s the keyword, “escape.” Especially in the last year, many of us probably only have one place in total. When we go back to the workplace, it must not feel like a trap. Even in normal times, our desk can feel like a constraint physically and mentally. The answer: room to roam. Not only offer a place to disconnect for a couple of minutes but encourage it. Let people get up freely, walk around to get the blood flowing, move oxygen to their fried brains, and grab a snack. The best way to do this is to offer a place to go—a communal area designed solely for your community. You’ll find that with some snacks or coffee and a place for people to hang out, it’s easy to let productivity soar.
Need help building ideas for the ultimate communal space in your workplace? Get Started today to check out how we can design your breakroom and stock it with all the best treats to get your team talking.