The power of place and belonging – it’s not all about the real estate!
‘Place’ has a very different interpretation for each individual. To some it is all about the people and experience, belonging, memories & nostalgia and to others more about functionality, convenience and location, timeliness & everything in one place / under one roof.
Definition – ‘Placemaking’ is a multi-faceted approach to planning, design and management of public spaces.
More so now than ever before the concept of ‘placemaking’ is at the forefront of urban, city regeneration schemes and workplaces. There is so much to take into consideration when planning for the future both in terms of business strategies, their workforces and with regards to residential planning.
In the last 5 to 10 years we have seen the regeneration of large urban cities including Bristol, Birmingham’s Brindley Place, Kings Cross St Pancrus. More recently this has expanded into the smaller cityscapes including Slough (Station Square and The Curve), Cambridge, Belfast City Centre and in KingstonUponThames – a proposal for an £800m regeneration project will provide approximately 2,170 new homes and a minimum of an additional 114 council homes, a new community centre, gardens and play area.
Far more attention now appears to be given to smaller cities with local and central governments working closely with the private sectors. There is focus on ensuring that there are opportunities for wellbeing, less commuting, more inclusion of local business and partnership schemes, green spaces, more sustainability, design and reallocation of space to inner city housing, socialisation, offices and far more proactive thinking.
So how does all of this apply to the workplace & choosing the right flexible working environment for you and your team?
As people we are motivated partly by money but also by the spirit of cooperation. We share time with people that we’ve something in common with, connection, sharing a purpose, this results in a far more powerful sense of teamwork.
All business organisations and even the teams within them are unique, with varying personalities, infrastructure and personal requirements and it’s not just all down to the real estate aspect. To maintain a well-balanced, happy, motivated team with consistently high productivity then you have to consider varying requirements. For example, if a business has a remote working model then what might be needed for the IT team may be very different from what’s needed by the HR and marketing team:
Property & location:
- Are all of your team working remotely with a hybrid mix of location options or are they in a fixed location all of the working week i.e. working from home, based from locally, flexible workspaces? Up until the last few years the majority of workforces were based in cities with great transport links, socialisation, strong infrastructure etc. Now that there is a big move towards remote working and being based in smaller cities and suburban areas then employers need to give consideration to what is available in these regions.
- Have you determined the following for each of your team members:
-Where are they living
-What transport is available to them
-What’s the commuting time versus their contracted hours
-What facilities do they need to close by to be able to be most productive in their business role e.g. connectivity & communications infrastructure, transport, hotels, coffee shops for meeting clients etc
Now you can start to analyse what type of flexible workspace that would be most relevant in terms of location, purpose and experiences for your team. Here are various forms of flexible workspaces that are available:
- Local & convenient workspaces (a split between home & office) – a functional workspace local to the employee, no more than 15 minutes travel away. More and more flexible office providers and local hotels with coworking spaces are popping up in towns and more rural areas now they often provide good functional wifi and workspace ergonomics that can be difficult to access from home. These spaces can be accessed easily every day as a change of scenery and help to alleviate that isolation that working at home can bring.
- City centre flexible office providers (can be smaller cities, not just the likes of London) – this is a great middle ground and are often used a couple of times a week to benefit from things like meeting rooms, great infrastructure, conferencing facilities, connectivity, collaborations and networking, client meetings. Generally, people are prepared to travel a little longer as it’s more of an experience and can really help with productivity and energy.
- What is the mission, values, corporate social responsibility of your business – does it have a sustainability ethos, how does it affect your brand, this should be reflected in the placemaking choices for your team.
- Consider the types of personalities, will they feel comfortable, are they introvert, extrovert, where will they feel relaxed, energetic and productive? Most flexible workspaces are great at providing different environments for different personalities and roles and give good opportunities for networking and for privacy.
Here are some of the benefits of placemaking for your business and your team:
- Improved output and productivity
- Increase in motivation and wellbeing
- Feeling of belonging & ownership
- Less commuting
- Casual collisions and organic networking
- Sense of ‘family’ units with workplaces
- Partnership / collaboration opportunities with neighbouring businesses, sector clusters, a sense of cooperation and coopetition
- Brand marketing & promotion through word of mouth
- Richer with culture, experts, knowledge, experience
General benefits of the regeneration of smaller cityscapes:
- Regeneration is a signpost of future growth and demand resulting in the amenities that attract new residents
- More autonomy, cooperation, lobbying power
- Less emigration of skills & expertise
- Higher occupancy rates of outlets
- Higher footfall
If you’d like some help on how to map out remote working transformations for your team then you can book a discovery call with Suzanne:
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