Remember morning meetings? Remember team building? Remember actually traveling to a client's office to shake hands?
Here in China, we've been doing well, but the post-Covid effects are still around. The fact that we say "in-person meetings"— that thing that used to just be called "a meeting"—is an indication of the subtle mania caused by remote work.
Now, I'm happy with more "me time" and less "insufferable coworkers time" just as much as the next guy. It seems more efficient to hop on a quick video call from your desk rather than waste an afternoon tramping across town for a ritual of respect. But like same-day e-commerce delivery, there are always hidden costs.
Struggles With the Post-COVID Hustle
When's the last time you've been on a large group call and didn't have to spend the first 20 minutes getting everyone to turn on their video, navigating the awkward intros, and figuring out whose mic is causing the echo? A full year later and we're still losing half of the meeting block to this nonsense.
Even as we trickle back into the office, face mask and health code in hand, work just feels slower and less efficient. It's been a struggle to hit pre-pandemic targets. The reason ain't actually so secret—it's synergy.
Synergy, Not Just a Buzzword!
The term "synergy", got coopted - but just the like working-remotely the productivity gap, the numbers show it's a real thing. Essentially, more people working together equals better results. Not exactly rocket science, but tricky to execute.
Over-reliance on remote work makes it easy to miss errors that would be obvious in person, and slows down efficiency in problem-solving. Just like that huge team at pub trivia who always wins, synergy means that one person is bound to know some random but somehow crucial fact. Collaboration FTW.
So...What Should We Do?
Here in Shanghai, we're fortunate that life has returned to close to normal (*ahem* thank youuuu communist efficiency!), so there are a few ways to bring back that sweet synergy.
In comes WhiteSpace. It's a place near your office, like a Starbucks, but you get your own walls. And a place to plug in your laptop. And a screen if you want to project things. Short-term on-demand meeting spaces. People and Businesses use their space for product launches, team building, team training, pitch days, client meetings, creative spaces (photography/videography), even parties with catering. They have a fairly broad view of how short-term meeting spaces are taking off in Shanghai.
The "Green Zone" Effect — Minus Matt Damon
Even if two groups aren't at war, a neutral space provides safety for two groups to come together, without conceding something as trivial as a meeting location before you've even started. In the words of our local cultural landscape, asking a new collaborator to come to you could be a fatal loss of "face".
The same issue comes up even when trying to arrange a meeting between two large departments within the same company. Especially if the one large space in the building has been booked up until the 22nd century.
WhiteSpace has 11 locations scattered around town, all centrally located and strategically placed. Groups coming from different districts can always find a convenient halfway meeting point. Which could come in handy when you're hoping to find that same point in your deal's contract.
Train the 2020 Pain Away
Even if your company is managing to get back into it, we've all lost something. We were suddenly cast out into endless months of remote work without any warning, and now they expect us to come to our dusty workstation and pretend it didn't happen.
One way to bring everyone back up to speed is to hold company- or department-wide trainings. Or hosting motivational speakers. Or a panel discussion on the Showtime series Billions.
The problem is that big event spaces often come with a big price tag. They're usually held in a hotel conference room, either way outside downtown or way outside your company's budget.
WhiteSpace is private, professional, and wayyyy more cost-effective than your run-of-the-mill hotel conference room. Put that budget into that TED-level trainer, not the space.
Synergy Doesn't Grow on Trees — Gotta Build It
If your company has been just kicking around the idea of a team-building event for months now, push for it. You might have rolled your eyes before, but lemme tell ya, those trust-falls do pay for themselves when KPIs come a-knockin'. A tolerance—or daresay an appreciation—for your comrades, who will be down in the trenches with you in crunch time, makes all the difference.
When I asked White Space what sort of team-building events their clients can host, the answer seemed to be apparently whatever crazy idea can fit in their space. They even hosted a company holding their own ice-less curling event! Curling! In Shanghai!
Just look at that currrrrrrrrl... Just look at that spaaaaaaace!
Oh, and new customers get a 30% discount when making their first booking. Just be sure to mention this article. As they say in Canada, check it ouuuuuuut!