Let me start with a confession – I’m a big James Taylor fan. There, I’ve said it and I know for some people this will not come as a surprise, and for others it will be a disappointment. Sorry, I’m not too sure I can actually change what I like! One of my favourite James Taylor songs is ‘You’ve got a friend’ (a song written by Carole King by the way)
Hearing it recently whilst I was reading a workplace related document, started me thinking about the importance of friendships at work. Then at a recent Herman Miller Insight Group debate, Jonathan Prynn, the consumer Business Editor of the Evening Standard raised the point that had he have been working from home he would never have met his wife.
So that has prompted me to think about how important friendships are at work. I don’t just mean connections, or relationships, I mean true friendships. Ones that form a long-lasting bond, one survives even if you leave and move to a competitor.
Does space play any part in helping those friendships form? What part does the culture of an organisation play? I’m not suggesting that we can design space to create more friendships, but there does seem to be value in building strong social capital within organisations. Places where people have a sense of belonging and a feeling of community.
One piece of research carried out for Herman Miller emphasised the need to create a ‘civic heart’ within a building. Does your building have a civic heart? Somewhere that people go to for a variety of reasons, much like people gather at their local pub.
So, any thoughts are welcome and in the meantime here’s the great man himself singing the song that inspired this blog
If the sky above you should turn dark and full of clouds
and that old north wind should begin to blow,
keep your head together and call my name out loud.
Soon I will be knocking upon your door.
You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I’ll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call and I’ll be there.