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Why we work determines how well we work

I have seen recently many hardcore fans of returning to office (one way or another most have direct skin in the game for this to happen, but that’s a different topic) who loudly proclaim that a physical office is the foundation of a company’s culture. That makes me smile and frown at the same time – if that’s even possible.

You see, a forced reasoning stating that a specific physical place triggers interaction and builds a great culture that in turn makes the employees motivated and productive is, in reality, plain silly. Sure, a great office always helps, but, if you were relying on your premises as the silver bullet solution to great culture and employee productivity, then most likely you are facing now far greater issues and reading this blogpost or even considering Pluria for your organisation will not help.

If office is secondary, then what is the magic ingredient? Well, we believe it actually has nothing to do with the office setup. It’s quite simple, honestly, and it very well fits into all the “back to basics” aspects of our personal and professional lives that the pandemics have forced us into rethinking and rediscovering – it’s clear purpose. The vision around which the organisation has been created and how this is communicated and acted upon is what builds great culture. Nothing more, nothing less. The rest is just tactics and ways to express and live the purpose.

What is the link to us and what makes me feel comfortable raising this point? I believe having a clear vision and communicating it consistently is even more important for remote organizations. Remote teams rely only seldom on meetings and direct interaction, so having a clear sense of direction that everybody can follow without constant course correction is a must.

The physical office typically helps as people informally adhere to ideas, behaviours and overall vision as they interact throughout the day. But this is only a false sentiment of causality and without a clear purpose or without communicating it properly, it only works for small companies, as long as everybody is close one way or another to the founding team. But with scale, the foundation is lost and no amount of togetherness obtained by being physically present in one office can compensate for a lack of purpose and structure in constantly communicating it and embedding it in the daily habits of the team.

What occasional meeting of colleagues does provide is cohesion and solidity to the overall construct, but is not a substitute for the foundation. Through what we do at Pluria, we are empowering employees into being physically present in dedicated workspaces for deep work or in order to seek out collaboration, but on their own terms. This flexibility ignites productivity and sparks innovation and yes, being there with colleagues, clients or collaborators does help, but does not build purpose by itself.

That is true for all remote-first teams and is true for us, the people of Pluria. We make sure our purpose, that of redefining how companies and employees work together by leveraging the most flexibly and varied network of workspaces, is well communicated and enforced through our daily actions. The fact that we are all on board and aligned to this acts as a lighthouse to our start-up in navigating those rather turbulent times. And we definitely need it to guide us forward.