Welcome to Robin and Dan’s blog of blogs. Its format is simple; exploring the meaning of life…at Area, within the design and build industry’s merry-go-round in London, and in fact, in general.
So, no biggy.
Last week’s whirlwind hype of activity in Area’s London office can be summarised in the following countdown:
- 7 client meetings in the office
- 6 teams created for our 20 mile charity walk
- 5 new starters
- 4 projects awarded to our team
- 3 client pitches
- 2 Birthdays
But holding the top spot this week, and particularly poignant in our opinion for our first blog anchor, is our charity boxing night at number 1! With two of our guys involved in a charity white collar boxing evening, drawing a real mix of colleagues, a great night out was had even for those who aren’t fans of the sport.
More importantly, it got us drawing references about workplace culture and its position in today’s frenetic market (no really!). It was primarily the blend of attendance and personalities, and how connections created spontaneously or otherwise, contributed to the success of the evening that got us stroking our chins and scoping for similarities.
With considered Cultural Blend being a big part of how we help connect with and support our clients, it got us thinking about how complex a consideration it really is and asking how much of it we recognise. With it being easy to disregard in the course of day-to-day work, we tracked it across some of our other meaningful moments, and tell all below.
For example, our amazing Royal Wedding Tea. A simple Wedding-style celebration with royal decorations, the odd tea-fuelled speech, and, well, tea! But workplace culture? Well, just like with the Royal family, culture and connectedness is a big thing, and as Area has grown over the last few years (as have our royals) we’ve had to step up and ensure the experience our team have is what we want it to be, and is the best it can be, for the greater good.
As heads of Design and Client Engagement we understand that the ‘naturalness’ of our team with our clients is really important and it’s something you can’t fake! The shorthand of knowing people, ‘getting’ humour, having a shared history and tall tales – it’s vital. You might say we could learn a lot from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
We’re now focused on the world cup for our next themed team get together. We’re thinking big screen telly, 3 lion cakes and more classic English tea. It’s the fast lane here; although we do accept that a few crates of beer and wine will most likely arrive unannounced! And the connection and lessons here? Again, simple once you take the time to consider. Camaraderie, celebration and most importantly, unwavering support. A sustainable workplace culture has to have a shared goal, a clear vision, and a team around you that you trust and you want to share the future moments with, time and again.
Inductions, connecting teams within teams, cross team introductions and activities, regular get-togethers, working together, as well as the shape and rhythm of an office. Collectively, these aspects add to the eclectic experience of being part of our team, and it’s the same for our clients too. We also disagree occasionally, as you can imagine living with all the above for a week creates excitement, tension and urgency. It’s a great deal of fun and hard work. However creativity in design, making numbers work and approach makes this the brilliant industry that it is!
So the payoff for us is seeing clients move into a space and watching it enhance their team’s performance. The cultural part follows and it’s something we don’t see day one. However, as we go back year after year, we see how a client challenges the way they work, using a relocation or refurbishment of the office to do this. We also see how the quality of space encourages different interactions and creates bonds through unique user experience. This builds a business and creates happy teams.
So for the next two weeks we’ve decided to box ‘clever’ and ban emails and text, make everyone wear a gum shield and invite some of our more playful colleagues to wear silk shorts and a robe to see how that effects communication. Let’s see where that leads us!