When you go to the office, it's not just to get work done; thanks to WiFi and laptops, you can do that anywhere. Instead, you're going to a place where you can work AND be around other people, because working alone for long periods of time is isolating and lonely. So what is it about social workplaces that help businesses succeed? Humans are social people, and we crave contact with others. Despite our ability to work from almost anywhere, we still seek out connections with other people. This alone demonstrates the importance of social connections in the workplace. According to Alan Kohll, an expert in corporate wellness: "Strong social connections make people happier and physically healthier, which can translate into work performance. Employers who support social connections in the workplace and help employees form strong relationships with one another help build a successful workforce."
For sole traders and entrepreneurs working alone or in small teams, it's not as easy to maintain a sociable workplace environment or build connections.
That's why business centres, shared offices and coworking spaces have grown in popularity over recent years. It's largely due to a growing awareness that business owners need a sociable workplace and the opportunity to connect with other likeminded professionals.
In fact, coworking spaces are renowned for their community focused environments, which provide support, camaraderie and friendships. They also help to combat loneliness and are lauded for playing a positive role in helping to improve their members' wellbeing and mental health.
Events to Help People Collaborate
In UBC's business centres, we always encourage our clients to get together and we facilitate this by running a programme of events at each centre. The style and purpose of each event varies, but we are committed to holding them regularly, to give our clients the opportunity to meet other like-minded business owners, make friends, collaborate, and learn from each other.
Jane Erasmus, Sales & Marketing Director at UBC, says:
"I strongly believe that small businesses need to be sociable to succeed and grow. We are social beings after all, and we need to be in a stimulating environment to be happy and productive. It's not just about business opportunities or networking. More importantly, a social business community enables people and colleagues to take time out of stressful days and share their issues and concerns with each other.
"That's why small businesses choose a serviced office rather than rent their own place or work at home. In our centres, we find that many clients have the option to work at home but they still choose to spend the majority of their working week at the office."
Majority Attend Social Events at Work
A recent survey by UBC highlights these social needs even further.
A whopping 93% said that they would like to take part in events at UBC, and for those that didn't, it was due to high workloads or lack of time.
Over 70% said they were interested in attending social events and 68% were keen to participate in fundraising events. And while the most popular time is over lunch (65%), a considerable 40% of UBC clients would also be happy to attend events after work, 5-7pm.
The majority of respondents want the opportunity to 'meet your neighbours' (75%) along with general networking, while 45% value a structured event with a seminar or a talk from a business expert (45%) or a workshop (45%).
To facilitate greater connections and to create a more sociable workplace, UBC has introduced a number of events that are open to everyone, including:
Henley Hub - a monthly networking event at Henley-in-Arden with a guest speaker.
Flexi Friday - a free coworking day at Birchwood (Warrington) and Brentford, with a short business talk in the morning.
Various social activities at Cirencester and Southampton, including a new networking event with Cahoots Business Networking and a public speaking confidence course.
Partnerships with local business groups, such as the Rotary Club holding events at UBC's Fleet business centre.
Fundraising events - last year UBC held 'Meet the Guide Dogs' at all centres, and this year in support of mental health charity Mind we have numerous activities lined up, from themed raffles and cake sales to sponsored sporting events.
Through our partnership with Enterprise Nation, we also offer online courses and webinars to our clients to help their personal and professional development.
In other words, there's never a dull moment! Take a look at UBC's event listings for further information and keep an eye on our Twitter and Facebook pages for details of more upcoming events and social activities.