What makes a good work environment, one woman's perspective

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Until you're presented with a different way of doing things, sometimes it can be hard to imagine an alternative or even realise what you're used to is not the only option. We see this all the time with market disrupting technologies and innovative solutions. And that's what I feel needs to happen with the traditional office environment. So I want to show you an alternative. I want to show you a feminine perspective. This is what's important to me in a working environment.

Feminine management styles

There has been a focus in recent years on getting women into leadership, but there's no point getting them there if you don't also have an appreciation for more feminine approaches to management. Not to mention considering our wider gender diverse / non-binary individuals. Approaches such as collaboration, empathy and communication are a few that may typically be considered more feminine styles. But a balance of masculine and feminine energies can help get things done while creating a space where everyone can feel safe and included.

Among the books and posters at Manzana creative entrepreneurship hub.

Lighting, design and soft furnishings

Dark, dimly lit or hidden spaces feel cold, unwelcoming, and unsafe. Lighter/brighter colours, lots of natural light, and transparent meeting room walls go a long way to creating a welcoming physical space, as do some softer furnishings. Personally I dislike sterile white surfaces and fluorescent light tubes - they give me a headache - preferring natural finishings like wood and day lighting.

Feel good systems and digital environments

These days digital environments are sometimes even more a part of your work space than your physical environments. Do they enable communication, belonging and collaboration, or are they working against you? One tool I find really useful for facilitating participation is Miro.

Freedom of movement (physically and socially)

There's nothing worse than feeling like you're chained to your desk. Movement stimulates thinking and creativity, all great for problem-solving and general productivity. Encourage movement within your own community by making space for informal interactions, such as with a shared kitchen / dining or lounge space.

A catch up with the Women in Urbanism Community at Bestie cafe on Karangahape Road.

Connection to local communities

Having local cafes and other amenities nearby can be a life saver when you’re having a bad day and need some time to escape for a chat with a friend. They also facilitate community connection and make for an overall much more enjoyable work day experience.

Step-free access and inclusive toilets

Whether it's for a pram, bike or wheelchair, there are going to be times when rolling in makes life much more freeing and welcoming for everyone. This positive attitude for access can extend to inclusivity for gender-free toilets, period products and more too.

Clear communication + values-based leadership

It's not cruel to be clear. We all have times when we have to disappoint someone and the best thing to do when that happens is to communicate clearly and respectfully. Kim Scott has a great framework called Radical Candour for putting that into practice!

Purposely curated spaces can help us find comfort and support to be our best selves and do our best work. As our diverse communities organise themselves, smaller spaces can be helpful to suit their unique needs, creating a network of support around larger centres. Just like the transport debate, it's not a one size fits all!

Thanks to Pink Neon Sign for being our cover photo shoot location.

also good.