This piece is brought to you by the experts at Smartway2
Companies of all sizes are moving into co-working spaces that offer flexibility as their teams grow. Even tech giants like Microsoft, IBM and Verizon are testing them out in order to boost collaboration with innovative startups. But how does a company maintain its culture in a co-working space? Whilst some may think that co-working spaces are too noisy or open, others are finding that they can boost agility and productivity, if you manage your space and team effectively. We spoke to Jane Young, industry expert at Smartway2, who shares her top 7 tips for building a strong company culture in a co-working space.
1-Create a strong culture based on shared values from the get-go
Company culture should emerge from your organisation’s core values and vision, so it is important these are not only defined, but lived and breathed by everyone in your organisation. If your company does not use a defined set of values to help guide decision-making, the result is often a fragmented culture that fails to create competitive advantage, not to mention an uninspiring work environment. Employees do best when they feel that they belong to something bigger than themselves and that they’re contributing to the fulfilment of a shared and significant mission. Feeling as though you do not have a purpose in your company can result in a lack of productivity, low motivation and a desire to find a job elsewhere. Plastering the walls of your office with posters that communicate purpose and values is all very well, but the real value comes from referring to them day-to-day. That’s why leaders play a hugely important role in embedding culture, via their everyday conversations and team meetings.
The bigger your co-working space is, the more challenging communication can become. That’s why it’s important to make it easy for people to book meetings, whether in advance or off-the-cuff. The whole process of organizing regular meetings for your team can become frustrating, time-consuming, damage collaboration, productivity and the employee experience. If your co-working spaces uses a workplace scheduling system like Smartway2, everyone will easily be able to book the spaces and facilities they need to be productive – whether in advance or to use right away.
3-Keep in touch
A common concern in co-working environments is communication. Having conversations in shared spaces can disturb others and risk people overhearing confidential information. That’s why it’s important to ensure that as well as embracing the ability to book private rooms when needed, your teams are also equipped with social and digital tools, such as Slack.
4-Encourage community building events and team outings
All work and no play makes the office a dull place to be! That’s why it’s important to inject some fun into the working day. Organize monthly activities which relate to the traditions and interests you share as a company, and if you don’t have any traditions, it is time to create some! Plan bigger annual activities, monthly team lunches and weekly get-togethers over coffee so that your team have regular events to talk about and look forward to.
5-Have a dedicated company work space
As co-working spaces have evolved, different spaces are now designed to have different functions, so occupants can choose the most appropriate room or workstation, depending on the task at hand. However, maintaining a dedicated company work space – whether a separate office building, or a private office within a co-working space – can help maintain a sense of identity and control.
6-Celebrate big wins
Why not merge building your company culture with business incentives for your employees? By deliberately highlighting employee accomplishments with team rewards, a supportive and motivated work culture is built. Whether this be a team breakfast or branded employee gifts that contribute to a sense of identity, your employees are bound to feel more connected to their team and proud of their work.
7-Collect feedback from your team
There is no ‘I’ in team- so why should your company culture be dictated by one person or team? Creating company culture should be a collective effort and everyone should be given the opportunity to contribute ideas or provide feedback. By engaging and actively trying to work on their feedback, you are creating a greater employee experience by making team members feel heard. This is even more important if co-working is new to your team, as any chance requires open, two-way communication in order to succeed.