The Importance of Community in the Workplace
Building up a business culture
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The feeling of community within a workplace can drive people to work harder. This may sound a little like “herd mentality” to some, but it shouldn’t be seen that way. People often confuse the need to foster a sense of community within a workplace with making everyone feel the same. Your employees should feel a sense of belonging, yes. But they should also be able to carve and display their own identity within that community, as well as being part of that community’s identity.
A sense of belonging is what is fostered when workplaces feel more like communities. And this can improve worker self-esteem, which, in turn, improves job satisfaction. (Which, in turn, improves productivity, which increases profits!)
A place where employees can get to know each other
A lot of business owners forget that employees need to get to know each other. They forget that, no matter how experienced someone may be, the first day on the job sometimes feels like the first day of school! Everything about your workplace will go so much smoother if all the employees get to know each other properly. There should be somewhere in your office where employees can come across each other and talk for a while.
The classic “area”, in this regard, has always been the water cooler. This actually seems a bit old fashioned now. But the water cooler is still effective if you’re short on space. It’s somewhere that everyone will have to visit at some point. They may run into others while they’re there. They may start a conversation, even if it’s a brief one.
Shared goals and information
One of the best ways to make employees feel like they belong is to ensure that everyone is on the same path. And the best way to do that is to make sure that the company’s goals are fully known to everyone. And I’m not just talking about the goal of making sweet profits! I’m talking about any goals, including the ones that are more abstract.
And if there are any changes to things, make sure people aren’t left in the dark. Emails are, of course, a great way of getting messages out very quickly. But this being a modern workplace, an email often find itself lost in, well, an ocean of other emails! So you can use something with more of a physical, permanent presence in the office. Things like office notice boards should do the trick.
Fun nights out after work? Sure, not everyone is going to be able to make them. After all, sometimes people just want to head on home when the day is finished. But you should encourage people to do things after work, even if it is just to go down to the nearest bar. (In fact, that’s probably the best idea!)
To be honest, the best way to get people to do this is to join in the shenanigans yourself. Send out an email to everyone. Invite them to join you and this or that place. One of the reasons that a nearby bar is such a good place is because people who don’t have a lot of time could stop in for one drink.
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