The ‘workplace’ and its benefits are different for everyone. What individuals get from their place of work can really impact their day-to-day life as well as their work productivity. As a Co-founder of a young start up, we thought we would ask Joe ‘what the workplace means to him and his business’.
What does the term workplace mean to you?
‘The workplace is very important to me both personally and professionally. It may sound odd to some but I love working, I really do. The workplace is a place where I come to learn. The workplace is where you grow as a person and a professional. I do believe in agile or hybrid working, I believe these really have a place in the modern workplace but there is no replacement for the physical workplace, the challenge now is understanding what kind of workplace is best for your business and your team.
We initially started in a serviced office which was a great experience for us and the right place for us to be during our inception. With the nature of our business being sales and collaboration focused plus the culture we wanted to create, we soon realised we needed our own space, room to grow and be ourselves which is one of our unique USP’s. We found a leased space of 500Sqft and it has been amazing for the business. We have our own meeting space, breakout space and areas to collaborate, show samples and dedicated workstations to do our deep work.
Every business needs something different from the workplace and the key is identifying what those needs are and feeling conviction within decisions made. With the lease length generally getting shorter, there is also flex available which should be capitalised on
Why do you think having a hub for your staff is important?
Our team need our workplace for three key reasons.
Social – We are a young team who want to socialise with likeminded people. Our base allows us to do this together. I am in no way against WFH but it isn’t a social experience. The social reason for working is understated and underrated. Most new friendships as an adult are through the workplace, especially when you are a young team. This is a key driver for a lot of young people and our workplace culture reflects that.
Learning – As I stated earlier, I love the workplace because it is a space where I come to learn. Learning is one of the best feelings in life. Being around each other, senior and junior members of staff spending time together and overhearing conversations is one of the best ways to learn in the workplace. A mentor in the workplace changed my life, I am not exaggerating here, I believe he accelerated my career by three years, maybe more, that access and ability to be a sponge only happens when you are together.
Deep and Collaboration work – Most under 30-year-olds in London don’t have a great WFH set-up. Working from the kitchen table or bed is fine for some work but not for deep and collaborative work. Our work is largely deep and collaborative style working. Without the office it would have a negative impact on our efficiency. We need to work fast and accurately, working together in the office allows us to do this.
In your opinion, what part does the look and feel of a work environment effect the staff?
Our environments shape our mood and state of mind, great design can do this without you even realising it. Often in life you don’t remember specifics, but you remember how you felt, therefore the feel the workplace gives you is ever important.
Our workplace makes people feel safe, encouraged and motivated. We have a safe environment where our team can be themselves at all times, we encourage individuality, we celebrate our oddities because… we’re all different and it’s the difference which makes us all interesting and us. We make a conscious effort to be encouraging to our team, our choice of language, our incentives, our feedback is always encouraging, and it is a purposeful strategy we deploy. Our workplace is also a motivating space, we are a business at an early stage and our office reflects this. We try to create a setting where as much as possible is set-up for the team to flourish, if they need anything, they ask, if we can do anything to make their lives easier, we will. The team understand that their results, their ambition is all achievable in our business, the first step is working hard and being the best they can be, if they can nail that, then there is no glass ceiling in a business like ours.
The aesthetic of the office is undoubtedly important, but a good aesthetic can be achieved without being ostentatious. Maximising budget and ensuring the key areas are identified will make a good office aesthetic. In a small office, storage and the rationalisation of this will make a huge difference. There should also be space for the team to get involved, a team area that evolves over time with team photos and trinkets creates a home away from home feel which will give the team a sense of ownership too. I would also always look at some pre-loved furniture too, commercial furniture is great but investing in some real statement pieces and art works will create a timeless feeling to the office space which transcends trends.
What do you think the Soul space office says about the company?
Our workspace says exactly what it should about our company. We are a fun and sociable bunch who are serious about their work and profession. We have invested sensibly into the space and focused on what our team needs now and in the near future.
What value does having the office bring to the Soul Spaces team as well as yourself?
We would lose our edge without our hub, we would lose time and culture, I have no doubt about that. Therefore the value the office brings to us is almost impossible to quantify, it is one of the biggest overheads of a business but for us, it is worth every penny.