I have mentioned before that my office is in a co-working space called Roam. One thing that I haven’t mentioned before is the overwhelming sense of community that I have as a member. In my old office, I never spoke to anyone in the building. In fact, even smiles in the hallway were rare. When we moved, I brought the habit of keeping to myself and staying holed up in my office. Unfortunately it took me a while to break the habit.
For the first month I upgraded a bit and said hello to people I recognized, but I still was not investing myself in the community. After a month or so, I realized how much I was missing out on with hundreds of people coming through the doors every day.
So I ejected myself from my office and have spent the last couple months spending 60-80% of my time not in our private office.
I wasn’t sure how it would affect my productivity at first, but now I can comparatively say if anything I get just as much work done as I did in my private office…If not more! During my time sitting out in the cafe I have started building relationships and beyond that, friendships with other members and even the staff. These relationships are incredibly valuable to me from both a professional and personal perspective.
I sit in our cafe 2-3 days a week next to a number of other people running their own businesses and we have some incredible opportunities to collaborate and share from our experiences with one another. I know other people have plenty of resources they have been using to further what they are doing, while I had no idea those same resources even exist. And it is a two-way street. We are adding value to each other professionally without even working for the same companies.
These kind of interactions happen on a daily basis with members around the community and it is incredible. Not to mention almost all of the members here have a ‘pay-it-forward’ attitude and are constantly seeking ways to help one another.
I actually recently wrote a post on the benefits of community for the Roam blog. You can read that post here.
The general idea I shared there is that community offers 5 unique benefits.
- Community develops courage.
- Community develops constructive environments.
- Community develops opportunity.
- Community fosters learning.
- Community develops joy.
Can you say that you have a community where you work? Do you have friends in your office? Don’t you think that’s worth investing in?
Relationships energize us. Community gives us momentum. Energy and momentum are powerful forces in the professional world. Can you afford to work without them? If you could have a constructive environment where you feel courageous enough to chase high level goals, where you learn consistently, have opportunities to grow and you can enjoy all of it, isn’t that worth the effort it takes to develop a community?
My post from last week about developing relational equity might be a great place to start. Intentionally invest in relationships in your office and at your workplace. Don’t expect anything in return. Invest. Ask questions. Build relationships.
Get others onboard with your vision for the workplace. I guarantee if this idea gets you fired up, there are others who will buy in with you. In no time you will be on your way to building a thriving community. I would be amazed if you and the others around you aren’t even more energized to tackle work and knock it out of the park as a result.