In this era of constant change, modern workspaces have become more like shared homes. Great communities have to be curated and the key to building them successfully...is neighbourhoods.
How to Build Neighbourhoods and Communities in the Workplace
The most important lesson to learn from the popularity of coworking spaces has nothing to do with layout or aesthetic, and everything to do with successful community-building: great communities have to be curated. They very rarely just happen on their own. And the key to successful community-building in the workplace … is neighbourhoods.
In this era of constant change, neverending flows of information and round-the-clock communication, we’d all like a little stability. Modern workplaces have become more like shared homes, and tend to include communal spaces such as kitchens, tea areas, sofa areas and quiet spaces. Staff want authentic spaces that feel like home: so today’s offices should include distinct, authentic neighbourhoods.
What Do We Mean by a “Neighbourhood”?
A neighbourhood is a shared, familiar, comfortable space in which work gets done. It’s a team’s home base in the office. A zone they can huddle together in, and work together in, and feel a sense of belonging in; while still having access to the different kinds of workspaces they require. A neighbourhood houses all of the different kinds of employees needed for a good team, and caters for their different needs. It’s like a workplace within a workplace.
“Authenticity” is the keyword here. Neighbourhoods are authentic because they’re created by their inhabitants. This is how they function in cities, towns and villages, and also in the workplace. It’s the people who inhabit a neighbourhood who create its unique, authentic character.
Neighbourhoods are places in which communities can grow organically, and that’s what makes them special. These communities take pride in their neighbourhoods, their work and their interpersonal relationships—which helps fosters a shared mood of commitment and trust.
Knowledge transfer and collaboration happens naturally in neighbourhoods. Because neighbourhoods house tightknit communities in which everybody gets to know one another, and speaks to one another about what they’re working on, their interests and their ideas, they’re natural hotbeds for collaboration. This leads to increased levels of innovation, excitement and wellbeing, and so to a competitive advantage.
Many of today’s most productive large workplaces are full of great neighbourhoods that are home to great communities. Neighbourhoods don’t only give teams a place to work—they also change the way they work.