The need to feel connected is inherent in every human and this is no different in the workplace. People like to feel part of something greater than themselves and an office that encourages community building will have more motivated employees than an office that doesn’t prioritize team building.
A workplace community involves a sense of belonging, friendship, shared ideas and mutual support. Community building in the workplace rarely happens by accident; there has to be a conscious effort of making it happen either through workplace design, team building or better yet, a combination of both activities.
If you're looking to use workplace design to encourage team building in the office, here are a few spaces to include:
An open work area
An open work area includes benefits such as increased collaboration and relationship-building interactions among employees. However, it is important to balance open work areas with private alternate work areas so employees can move from collaborative work to single focused work when the need arises.
It is well known that most employees use their lunch break to catch up over work activities and their shared interests. What better way to encourage community building than giving them a place where they can seat, relax, eat, talk about their shared interests and network with colleagues from other departments when they choose to.
Research has also discovered eating together may help employees perform better as a team.
Due to the setting and atmosphere of a workplace lounge, most employees find it easier to strike conversations and improve relationships while in the lounge. The lounge could also serve as an alternate workspace for those who prefer unofficial work settings to perform or for team brainstorming sessions.
With the available research on the relationship between employee engagement and productivity every workplace should be making effort to encourage community building.