On a rainy and cold morning, a group of us from 451 Marketing headed to spend the day volunteering at the Boston Living Center—a resource hub for residents living with either an HIV positive or AIDS diagnosis.
It’s time to kiss the traditional nine-to-five workday goodbye. The days when people sit in solitary confinement in cubicles, grinding out individual work and counting down the minutes are becoming a phenomenon of the past. People are creating their own hours, working longer but on their own time. Businesses are knocking down internal walls in favor of open spaces, allowing people to bounce ideas off each other to come up with the next big thing.
Collaborative environments are on the rise because they allow creative people to join together, share ideas, follow their dreams, and make things happen. With more than half of the U.S. workforce projected to be independent by the end of the decade, the way people work will change.
How can we keep up with the changing tides? Transform the workplace into a community that encourages people to come together rather than remain apart.
Imagine a place where you can work with others while sitting in comfy beanbag chairs and tire seats, take a dip in an Olympic size swimming pool with co-workers during your lunch break, attend meetings in a Broadway-themed conference room decorated with velvet drapes, or chat with co-workers in a vintage railway car space. At Google, these imaginings are quite real.
“Google’s success depends on innovation and collaboration,” says Google Engineering Director Craig Nevill-Manning. Everything is “geared toward making it easy to talk [because] being on one floor [removes] psychological barriers to interacting.”
It’s no wonder Google is constantly ranked among the top places to work and companies with the happiest employees.
Sharing Google’s vision of a collaborative environment is Microsoft. At Microsoft headquarters, employees enjoy subsidized meals, ping pong tables, a bar called “The Mixer”, a discussion space modeled after a living room called “The Think Tank”, and rooms equipped with the latest communications technology for virtual collaboration. Much like Google, Microsoft “focused on empowering employees by creating new work environments that foster innovation and productivity and that reflect the culture and position of Microsoft in the marketplace as a visionary technology leader.” This type of environment encourages Microsoft employees to share thoughts and work together.
Google and Microsoft are just two companies spearheading the move to overhaul workspaces into open environments. Work is work, but it doesn’t mean play cannot sneak in there. Shared workplaces foster idea sharing, creativity, and ultimately, innovation. Happy employees are productive employees.
Do you agree? How does your company workspace encourage employee satisfaction?
As a rookie Bostonian, it’s safe to say that I still haven’t fully grasped the intense passion that New Englanders feel towards their teams – Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, and Celtics alike. The footprint of the home teams on the local social media scene was obvious to me on Friday when the Red Sox had their Home Opener against their arch rivals, the New York Yankees. Businesses and organizations coordinated their tweets for the day to coincide with the event.
Many businesses simply mentioned the event and integrated it in with their normal twitter content:
@NewEnglandMCA: New England MCA wishes the Red Sox well on Opening Day2011! Go Sox!
@thelobstershack: What do the Red Sox and the Lobster Shack have in common? OPENING DAY! April 8, 2011 – 11am official start to the 2011 season.
Other businesses took it a step further, building deals and specials around the event:
@Finzsalem: Opening day! Join us for the game & enjoy our Fenway Special: Grilled Pearl Hotdog and an ice cold PBR, only $8!! Go Red Sox!
@McFaddensRI: OPENING DAY : **RED SOX / YANKEES AFTER-PARTY** TONIGHT, from 9-11pm!!! Want to snag a spot on the Guest List? Receive FREE COVER, and $3…
@berkleesac: Celebrate opening day at Fenway with FREE hot dogs, snacks, refreshments and FREE Red Sox gear giveaways all afternoon beginning at 1:30pm.
My favorite type of promotion during the home opener was offering a special deal to patrons wearing Red Sox gear. Bostonians are going to wear their Sox hats and jerseys on opening day (or any day the Sox are in town) no matter what, but offering special promotions to those who do makes the company a part of that fan’s Home Opener experience.
@Cardullos: It’s opening day for the Boston Red Sox. Today only, visit us in the store dressed in your Red Sox garbs and get a FREE bag of peanuts! 🙂
The overall impression that I get from tweet activity around this local event is that it served to promote a sense of community between businesses and those they serve. The message: we are all in this together – we are all a part of the Red Sox Nation – embraces a sense of unity that is unique and special to New Englanders. Go Sox or go home.
Did you come across any other tweets or facebook posts that integrated Opening Day in a unique way? We would love to see them!
-Halley Sheffield, 451 Marketing Manager