Place Is Still Important, Even If Work Directs Us To Remote
When you think about how your place of business or the area you work from is presented, it is important for us all to represent a place in a positive light.
At a time when digital technology and media are presenting altering definitions of where we work from ie. home, it represents every reason to present our places to wider groups.
One of the first things we do when we meet someone for the first time is ask, ‘where do you live?’ It might be partly just politeness and small talk, but there is depth in this. I do believe we have a real interest as it helps us learn more about the person and also about a place that triggers a feeling.
You have heard the term (probably a bit too much) — ‘people buy from people.’ If one of the first things you ask when meeting someone is where do you live, then is there something missing with regards to business and a sense of place. Or place of work can also provide a means of connection.
The Wider Nod
Bournemouth has been in the national press recently for its arts and culture angle as well as from a digital and tech business perspective. From the New York Times to the Telegraph, coverage has been extensive in the past few months.
However, it does look at how a space is championed, referenced and has an attachment on a commercial level.
It makes me think though. If a business owner lives in Bournemouth but the majority of their staff or even outsourced resources are overseas, what bearing does the business address, the registered address have on perception? Is it a “Bournemouth” business anyway? Will clients think that they are getting good value for money because of where the staff is based, or will they feel the business is making good profits by virtue of it, potentially?
If we care about where we live and seek to be part of it and to contribute to make it a better place, should we do the same when it comes to our business location?
High streets thrive when retailers support and celebrate each other. Co-working spaces, innovation hubs and business parks must work because people like being around people. That place can then be known for something, maybe the culture, the delivery, the expertise and the tech. Then by osmosis and association, your business will already be viewed in a certain way by prospective clients and partners.
A group of 20 people working from home, what does that represent? Is that a highly transactional business, or free-flowing and serendipitous?
I see people nearly fall over whilst doing the tricky dance of linguistics and semantics over, “hey, we can all work from home, we don’t need an office” and “Bournemouth is a great place to do business”.
Is it that place is not important when it comes to employment, but the place is important when marketing and PR dollars are involved? Does a place help paint a picture, help create a narrative, help in attracting clients and staff?
Proof Of Doing
At the Dorset Innovation Park in Winfrith, there have been conversations along the lines of we need to build a café, or reach out to the local deli to see if they want to operate from it.
Conversations have also included, wouldn’t it be great if we could have a pop-up hairdressers so people can get their haircut freely during the week and not fight for a place on a Saturday. So many ideas on how to be part of the place, the local area to make that better for people.
Whilst a lot is happening on the Park already, there is acknowledgement that a bigger collective thinking is needed to ensure the South West does not miss out on investment because “levelling up” is targeted elsewhere. Dorset alone can’t carry that momentum.
Only as the South West can it hope to be a co-creation space for the National Security Technology and Innovation Exchange — NSTIx. To present a positive perception for others, the places we work from can have a commercial, as well as connection power.
It is important to consider how we represent our places of work, boroughs, and towns, this is how we find wider recognition and buy into what we do. Think about what you do that puts a stamp on your place and represents your work.