Is it places or people that make things happen?

Many businesses are looking for ways they can increase collaboration, and indeed it was a hot topic at our recent ‘Belong at Work’ event. Work spaces on their own probably don’t create collaboration, but they can group together people with complementary skills or make chance conversations possible, enabling those light bulb moments.


Watch some highlights of our recent ‘Belong at Work’ panel discussing how culture and community influence our working environment.

With so many flexible or nomadic workers now, who may only spend a few days or even hours in an office, how can work spaces help them form alliances that lead to collaboration? Do we need attractors such as pool tables and comfy sofas or is it the people, the work family, which draws people in? Great, functional design is clearly part of it, but Charlie Green from The Office Group is witnessing a growing trend – people want to share. They want to share, not because work space is hard to find or because of the cost, but because of the benefits being part of a community brings. A community leads to an invaluable network of knowledge, skills and support, which when combined can help businesses flourish, often in ways they didn’t know were possible. 

This bring us back to the subject of our panel discussion, belonging. A sense of belonging is a need we all have. Being accepted and belonging to a community can improve motivation, health and happiness, all things leaders would like to see in their organisations. 

The answer to whether it’s places or people that make things happen? It’s actually probably the community. 

In a previous article for us about shared offices it sounded very much like Clare Dowdy, business journalist and our event host, agrees ‘I want company! We ask each other for professional advice, we console when a commission has gone awry, and we sometimes team up on projects. We also make large rounds of tea, eat our lunch together, celebrate birthdays, and pull each other’s legs” 

So, to get a culture of collaboration flowing, let’s design our working environments with community in mind. Do you agree? Have you experienced working in community-focused shared space? Please share your thoughts below.