Neighbours, we all need good ones: how to play your part in a vibrant local community.
As well as allowing us to feel more connected – a reminder on a bleary-eyed Monday morning that all shall be well – agreeable neighbours and vibrant neighbourhoods help all of us build the teams that make our businesses productive and positive places.
“Engaged organisations have strong and authentic values,” says Engage for Success, a voluntary movement that promotes employee motivation.
Whether your business is an active member of a nearby Chamber of Commerce, takes part in a neighbouring school’s careers day or supports a local charity, colleagues of all ages want to know that your company sees much further than a profit and loss account.
So with that in mind we take a look at how you can roll up your sleeves and play a part in that dynamic community beyond the office water-cooler.
Spot the oversize snail in Brighton as part of an art trail sponsored by local businesses? Or how about tipping your hat to the famously furry fan of marmalade in the Paddington art trail in west London.
Closer to our Croydon headquarters, street art (love it or hate it) features in locations from the former Nestle tower to Surrey Street market. It’s hard to deny that art in public spaces gets many people talking and others hot under the collar. Conversation-generating heat, its defenders might say…
Your marketing budget may not stretch to sponsoring a giant gastropod, but there’s plenty more you can do besides.
Even adding a “like” to social media posts about local artists’ work, or better still an encouraging or positive comment, will show your support … and give a snapshot of what’s important to your company.
Just as employers take an interest in what candidates post on social media, job applicants will also look you up on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
True enough, not every local park or neighbourhood public space can compete with the Yorkshire Sculpture Park or Cornwall’s Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden.
“If you can walk around it it’s a sculpture,” writer Tom Stoppard – he of Shakespeare in Love and Brazil – has said.
Outdoor art of all dimensions and in any setting encourages passers-by to linger while they gather their thoughts or simply just enjoy the moment.
Doing the same (what sculpture is near your place of work?) shows your appreciation, plain and simple. Those few seconds you take to slow down may even help you focus better once you and the to-do list are reunited back at the coalface.
Closer to our own offices in Croydon we at IRS can’t wait to see the resurgence of the Fairfield Halls, with the reopening scheduled for mid-September.
Constructing Excellence Croydon Club did a guided tour of the site in progress last autumn. Tipping a hard hat to a fellow construction colleague – a neighbourly act if ever there was one.
(If Fairfield Halls plan events to get the local business community together, we intend to be there. A few miles away in Bromley, for instance, the Churchill Theatre has a business club.)
It can hardly escape notice that UK Plc’s high streets have been going through a pretty rough patch. While it’s a big ask to be relentlessly Tigger, not Eeyore, about the state of bricks-and-mortar retail, it’s not all doom and gloom.
Perhaps that destination bike shop near the office runs the Cycle to Work scheme that your new starter is so keen on. Or your neighbourhood café near the local printers does outside catering for the lunchtime get-together you’ve got planned for other companies in your building.
Financial newswire Bloomberg, with its £1-billion European mother ship a stone’s throw from London’s Cannon Street station, wants its employees to get out there amongst it and spend money in the local economy.
“We encourage people to go outside” to support sandwich bars and local gyms, founder and former mayor of New York told The Evening Standard. “I want people to get out and enjoy the local economy.”
“I’m just as responsible for what goes on in the world as anyone else” — Bob Weighton, aged 111 and England’s oldest man (BBC radio interview)
With a little understanding, you can find the perfect blend, that Aussie soap title song also has it.
Perfection, perhaps not… but we can all stroll round that outdoor object and ponder awhile. Who knows, an idea might just hatch about how we too can be better neighbours.
Brian McGee and Bob Dickinson
If you would like to find out more about how we can help develop your dream office space, give us a ring on 020 8405 0555 or send us a message.