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30 September, 2019

Neighborhoods: Exchange and Align

Design Trends

Human beings are earth’s most emotional creatures. Emotions drive almost all aspects of human life, from cognition and interpersonal relationships to group behavior and social commitments. It is the power that shapes societies and molds organizations.

"Love" appears in many, sometimes unexpected forms, ranging from the familiar, like parental love and that of our friends, to the romantic love that unites couples with nothing else in common. Love is everywhere.

Have you ever thought that "love" can also be part of the office?

Wait, I know what you are thinking. I’m not really telling you a modern love story; I’m talking about a kind of love that is born out of trying to work and grow together. 

We live in an era of information overload, with torrents of disparate information fighting for our attention. The same is true in the office environment. Every minute we are called upon to absorb new information that interferes with our ability to focus; what we need is something that can help us work with different partners across various teams, share our experience and knowledge with others, and work together to solve problems. Although mobiles phone and video conferencing give us a convenient way to communicate, technology still cannot fully replace the intimacy and trust established during real meetings – such is the essence of communication and cooperation. Notwithstanding technology, we still depend on face-to-face cooperation. The process not only involves work, but depends on our ability to build networks, gain experience and acquire new knowledge. To succeed requires love and neighborhoods.

Neighbors’ main objective is to foster a support and social network. Neighborhoods can even be seen as promoting social cohesion and solidarity, as the support function also encourages mutual assistance within a small area. The resulting sense of security and trust between neighbors further reinforces a common understanding about how to address life and work issues. 

Recent research established that an interconnected, interactive office environment can foster a sense of belonging while also enhancing productivity. In addition, furniture makers have introduced new types of smart furniture to empower companies to create highly connected office environments. But merely installing something new doesn’t always translates into triggering meaningful connections. So how can we cultivate and deepen authentic "neighbor love" between colleagues?