The growing importance of workplace community

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What people want from their workplace is changing and it’s now more important than ever to create inspiration in the office to keep your team motivated. But achieving this goes far beyond just designing a space that accommodates your employees’ needs, it’s all about building a community in which they can thrive.

The benefits of the right workplace community are innumerable, from increasing communication to promoting a sense of togetherness and improving levels of creativity and productivity. Research has even found that having a best friend at work significantly improves the amount of effort employees put into their job, so it’s hardly surprising we’re seeking out roles in sociable, fun and supportive environments.

So how do we create workspaces that help friendships form and business communities to flourish? It’s all about bringing groups of people together.

At Bruntwood we make this happen by incorporating plenty of informal, shared spaces in our developments and using amenity in a savvy way – whether that’s inside a building, through shared high-quality retail or food and drink provision, or in the spaces that connect our buildings. Our customers can now not only benefit from the amenities and communities in their own buildings, but also from those based in our neighbouring buildings as part of a business cluster.

Positive workplaces should incorporate lots of places where people can shift down a gear for a while and relax together - at Platform in Leeds, for instance, we’ve built in the opportunity for people to socialise in shared spaces including a lounge, roof terrace and art installation gallery.

When it comes to creating a vibrant communal amenity in the heart of a business district, you’ll find no better example than Hatch, our pop-up food, leisure and retail destination in the centre of our new Circle Square neighbourhood in Manchester. A collaborative and connected place, Circle Square will offer over 1 million sq ft of flexible office space to businesses of all shapes and sizes – and Hatch, which is already a huge hit with the Oxford Road community, will provide somewhere for them to come together, socialise, experience new things and make new connections.

Circle Square will also feature the first and largest new city park in Manchester for generations - a beautiful landscaped space, with an abundance of trees and plants. This green space will draw people from up and down the Oxford Road Corridor, giving them a chance to catch their breathe, relax, interact and rub shoulders with their neighbours.

Events and regular get togethers can also help create bonds within the team and boost employee morale. Our dedicated community engagement managers across our buildings organise regular social, cultural, wellbeing and business support events within our spaces to help nurture communal spirit and create strong business networks. One example is at Cotton Exchange in Liverpool, where we’ve brought people together through events ranging from theatre trips to summer BBQs. The important thing is to organise activities that offer genuine enjoyment and act as natural ice-breakers.

To really enhance employee engagement, it’s also a good idea to get your staff involved in the local area. Supporting community projects can be a great way to bring your workforce together and give back to the local community. At Bruntwood, our staff spend over 1,500 hours volunteering through our Bruntwood Cares scheme every year, from helping school leavers with practice job interviews to working as a team to renovate community health centres.

Belonging to a community has benefits for everyone and more and more companies are discovering how bringing people together contributes to success. Our role now is to create the places and spaces that will help business communities and the people within them to thrive.

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