Building a Sense of Belonging
13.08.20Reading Time 6 MINUTES
In January 2019, which seems like forever ago now, we took on the exciting challenge of moving studios. But as with starting anything new, it was also terrifying. The last studio served us wonderfully – we turned what was essentially a big white box with dusty blinds into a fully fledged designdough grotto. It helped us to improve the way we collaborate and how we run our workshops, it allowed us to expand rapidly, to progress the business, and it showed us the possibilities that come from having a creative and inspiring work environment.
We won’t bore you with the details, but that building got sold and we were booted out. It was time to start the entire process from scratch again, ensuring that the workplace culture that thrived in our last place was left unscathed during the move.
Workplace culture (for the most part) is down to creating strong values, establishing a clear ethos and encouraging good, honest communication. But it’s no secret that our environments have a profound effect on the way we work, so creating a place that allowed all of the above to flourish was essential. We’ve learnt that the importance of curating your work environment reaches far beyond looking good – it adds, immeasurably, to your sense of purpose.
Parts of the old studio have made their way into our new home: our homemade recycled pallet desks, our pool table and our artwork for example. But we didn’t just want to replicate the old place exactly, because we’re not the same. Whilst the old studio allowed us to grow, our new place needed to reflect who we’ve grown into.
*We interrupt this blog to bring you an important paragraph on Covid*
It goes without saying that our working situation has changed drastically over the last few months. Since the beginning of lockdown, we’ve all been working from home full time. It’s a setup we never thought we’d be in – being all together in the studio is such a big part of who we are and the way we work. BUT! Slowly but surely, we are starting to ease ourselves back into the studio, and the fact that we’ve built a space we love, makes being back all the more sweet. We’ll talk more about our new style of working at the end of the blog, but it’s important for us to say that new provisions are in place around everything we mention below.
*Back to the blog*
Getting our studio to where we wanted it to be took an enormous amount of teamwork and elbow grease, but it was so worth it. Here’s why.
Our studio isn’t just a workspace, it’s an extension of our brand ethos, us as a team and the immersive quality of our process. We wanted a space that was instantly identifiable as us, so we needed the interior to speak to our brand aesthetic. Being surrounded by our brand colours and textures, bespoke signage designed by the team and our unique sayings on the wall gives us an incredible sense of self as soon as we walk through the door.
It goes without saying that different organisations require different environments based on the needs of their business. Collaboration is at the heart of our culture so we needed a space that allowed that to happen effortlessly. We don’t have an abundance of space, but we use it wisely with our desks sat in the middle of the room so we can wander to each other easily. There are walls entirely dedicated to cork too, so we can print out and pin up work for feedback wherever we are.
Now take what we just said about collaboration and flip it on its head. We understand that there’s a balance to be had between collaboration and concentration; working styles change regularly based on project, mood and deadlines. We’ve created the freedom to change our workspaces depending on how we feel most productive at any given moment. We have a breakout room for total headspace, a sofa for necessary off-screen breaks and (without sounding too Silicon Valley) a pool table, ping pong and darts to blow off steam between tasks. We firmly believe that if you enjoy and care about your space, you’ll care about what you’re doing in it.
We want our clients to feel at home here too! Our interior efforts are as much for them as they are for us. More so than feeling wowed by our space, we want our clients to feel welcomed. Our studio isn’t just somewhere for us to work, it’s an open door for them whenever they want or need to pop over. Especially if it’s for a 3 hour brand workshop (a well curated environment can work wonders to keep the momentum going).
Sense of Belonging
Whilst you don’t want to feel like you’re working when at home, it’s good to feel at home where you work. Admittedly, it’s a fine line — we don’t want our team to feel like the line between the two is blurred and encourage over-working. But feeling ‘at home’ to us just means feeling comfortable and inspired in your space. Like it’s a reflection of the way you like to work.
As a team, we all came together to create our beloved studio and it’s given us a real sense of individual ownership over the space. We have a genuine sense of belonging here. We associate it with excitement and pride rather than boredom and dread. Ultimately, that’s when we start reaching our full potential.
And that’s it, but we can’t leave without more on the C19 word…
We kinda need to address this, don’t we? It’s totally rocked the way we collaborate and welcome clients to our space, and we’ve had to change things up. We’ve moved our desks, we have a rota, we still work from home at times, we clean like we’ve never cleaned before, and our meetings are digital. Everyone keeps saying it’s the ‘new normal’, and whilst that’s completely true, we do hope that someday (whether that’s months or years away) we’ll be able to use our space with complete freedom again. Until then, we’re refocusing on making it somewhere where everyone feels comfortable.
Curating our environment is still something we’re proud of. Following everything that’s happened this year, the transition from work, to home, to work again has been made so much easier through creating a workplace where we feel at ease.
So to wrap things up, whether you’re working from home or from the office, we fully urge you to give your space some extra love. Whether that’s by adding small touches or making big changes, enjoying being in your environment will make every day that much better.