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Have you and your office lost that loving feeling? Let’s ignite the flame once again

We doubt your heart skips a beat when you step into your office. Or that you stand outside your office building at 8 a.m. and stare dreamily at the face-brick and aircon units. We do, however, think you should sort of love where you work. We’re not talking about a love worthy of sonnets and notepad doodles, but rather something akin to an ‘I dig this place’. So, how do you go about falling in love with your office? We’ll tell you...

Want to love your office? Commit to company culture

We feel it’s important to let you know that while doing some concrete research for this piece, we stumbled upon some major Mills & Boon titles – apparently searching for ‘love’ and ‘office’ in the same sentence sets Google on an entirely different path.

But hot office lip-locking and heaving chests aside, discovering how to fall in love with the place you work is pretty new territory. There are numerous titles by leading authors – such as Daniel Cable’s Alive at Work – which articulate how to get people to love what they do, but very little illuminates how to get people to love what they do, where they do it.

What we did find was that company culture is cited as a key driver when it comes to feeling “energised and excited to head to the office”. To ensure this is the case, company culture needs to be well defined, continually reinforced and practised, and constantly communicated by both the top dogs and employees.

About two years ago, communications and design agency, Headlines, launched a campaign called Love Where You Work which sought to celebrate local businesses in Milton Keynes who were going out of their way to make employees love coming to and being at work. This ‘loving’ had nothing to do with how frothily the coffee machine made cappuccinos or how bright the paint on the walls was, but was rather about employee engagement.

Headline managing editor Matt Johnson had this to say: “The secret to loving where you work is being engaged. Engagement is a measure of how much an employee is contributing to what a business is trying to achieve…it’s the overlap between being informed, inspired and [feeling] included.” And lo and behold, company culture is often the thing that gets employees engaged in the first place and keeps them engaged into the future.

We can’t, however, disregard that aesthetics help you find that loving feeling just a little bit; the colour of your office walls does in fact impact your mood – pastel colours make you feel calmer and brighter colours make you feel more excitable. And this isn’t just thumb-suck stuff; a team of psychologists and neuroscientists in Oz carried out a VR study to measure how the colour of a room and a person’s emotions are connected. So yes, these tangibles can get you one step closer to true love. But the real loving happens when you feel entrenched in company culture.

To fall in love with your office, you also need fun

Fun and office seem like words that shouldn’t belong together. But au contraire dear reader. In her book, Fun Works: Creating places where people love to come to work, Leslie Yerkes gives it to you straight: “You and I spend more time at work than at any other single activity in our lives. Yet, often our work experience is not fun. We suffer from the lack of integration of fun and work.” Do we see some nods of agreement? Work is often anything but fun, yet fun is one of the fundamentals of loving where you work. And we don’t mean Tigger-style bouncing off the walls and constant cake in the boardroom, but we do mean fun in the sense of a little bit of freedom, a little bit of informality, a little bit of socialising etc etc. Research even suggests that allowing your employees to have fun can help them perform better in their jobs.

Yerkes supports the idea that fun isn’t just about activities, but rather a way of being: “Fun, when most effective, is not input but rather output; fun does not create a good workplace so much as a good workplace creates fun.”

Hmmm, that sounds a lot like company culture, and Yerkes confirms it: “Creating places where people love to work is about creating a culture where individuals can freely bring the best of their whole selves to work each day.”

But how do you have fun so that office love can flow unimpeded? It’s everything you already know (and yes, some are activities):

  • Team building exercises (not the lame ones please).

  • Recognition of jobs well done and employee performance. Yerkes does something called the ‘Dance of Done Well’ which is an actual, holding hands ‘dance in a circle’ type thing – ah, that’s not for everyone).

  • Offering support and engagement when the fun is happening, like if employees watch a funny video. This is especially important if you’re in a management position; it shows fun is accepted and not something actively stopped or discouraged.

  • Allowing socialisation and informal time. This could be as simple as moving from what would have been a boardroom briefing to a coffee-in-hand walk – same subject matter, but an entirely different vibe (and overall impression).

This isn’t groundbreaking stuff, but it starts to shape an office environment (a culture) into one where people look forward to walking through the front door. Where they start to get the ‘I dig this place’ feels, and this is a very, very good thing.

Now all you might need is the perfect partner to give you an office space in which to create a culture of employee lovin’. And that’s us, Office & Co. Our workspaces are functional, affordable, good-looking and can handle all the fun you got.


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