Guest Writer
July 28, 2016

A plea for more connection in the workplace

Happy Thursday! Today we're introducing our very first guest blog, written by Tom Laterveer & Hagar Michel from Animo. Animo is a Berlin-based organizational happiness and teamwork firm that facilitates, trains and consults companies in building an organization people love to work for.

Most of us spend more time at the office than anywhere else. There is no activity we spend more time on than working (besides maybe sleeping) — meaning that during their careers, most people see more of their colleagues than of their partners, friends and children combined.

And yet, when we speak to clients on how to make the most out of their offsite, they invariably tell us that one of their most important goals for the team is to get to know each other better.


Spending time does not equal good relationships

How can it be that people who spend so much time together still feel the need to go out to a remote location to get to know each other? The answer is simple: not the quantity of time spent together counts, but the quality of it. And that quality is usually much lower than it needs to be.


"not the quantity of time spent together counts, but the quality of it."


The harsh truth is that offices worldwide are ridden with people who are clueless to what is going on in the hearts and minds of their direct co-workers. What really matters to your co-worker? What are her hopes, her dreams, and her fears? What does she need, right now, to feel okay and have a good day? Most people haven’t got a clue, even if they’ve spent hundreds of hours talking to each other. Besides this dynamic being sad and unnecessary, we argue that it is amongst the biggest hurdles for organizational performance in today’s workplace.


"The harsh truth is that offices worldwide are ridden with people who are clueless to what is going on in the hearts and minds of their direct co-workers."


Teams whose members spend a considerable amount of time playing ‘hide and seek’ quickly become disconnected, disengaged and ultimately dysfunctional. They form a culture where ‘keeping up appearances’ becomes more important than getting good work done — driving fear of failure, perfectionism and ego-centric behaviour. Tensions build up, internal competition goes up, and cooperation and company goals move to the background.

Though some may argue that in some teams disconnection and internal competition may actually fuel performance (think of a sales team where its members work independently in different locations with hard sales-targets), the reality is that this dynamic is killing for 99% of the teams. In a time where innovation and networking matters more than ever before, knowing how to stay connected in a human way has become one of the most valuable workplace skills.

‍Photo by Dominik Tryba


"Feeling connected to your fellow humans even makes you physically and psychologically healthier."

The benefits of connection

Studies show that connected teams outperform their competitors in all important areas: productivity, motivation, commitment, organizational citizenship, engagement, innovation and effectiveness. If you’ve ever worked in an engaged, well-connected team, you know this. If you’ve worked in a toxic, disconnected team, you know it too.

Feeling connected to your fellow humans even makes you physically and psychologically healthier. Studies show that your cognitive functions work better, it’s easier to learn new things, and your creativity and judgement in complex issues improves significantly.

Kindergarten skills

It is no wonder the ‘no asshole rule’ has been making so much waves in organizations lately. Recruitment is briefed to ‘hire for attitude, and train for skill’, and queries new candidates for their ‘kindergarten skills’— the ability to share, care for others and work with others in a peaceful, energizing way.


Wondering how to create a surrounding where these kindergarten skills can flourish? Got inspired to create more connection in your workplace? Here's Hagar & Tom’s next insightful article ‘Five ways to create more connection in the workplace’.

Make your first step in coworking today! Here you can find out more about how to do that in betahaus.

Ellie: Currently we have around 5 active pilots and we effectively work B2B2C. So we build our application for businesses which have their own user bases.

Volker: One of our ongoing projects is a pilot with Telekom. With their team, and partners from Riddle & Code and Simple Mobility, we have created the Magenta Scooter — an innovation in e-mobility that allows users to ride share while using their decentralized digital IDs. That means users can rent the scooter with our app and our identity. The main advantage there is that you can store your drivers licence in your Jolocom SmartWallet and then share this license with the app of Telekom. This eliminates the long onboarding process of verifying your license. 

Ellie: Another example is our e-government collaboration with The City of Antwerp called Blockchain on the Move. Using the SmartWallet, municipal employees can issue and validate their own credentials and create eIDs for citizens – it’s a digital ID with which you can register at the university or go to a swimming pool, as two examples.

Photo by Lea GK

Want more? Check out betahaus | Hamburg and betahaus | Barcelona.

If you want to know more about how to travel and work from different coworking spaces with one membership, click here.

Ellie: Two years ago we adopted a new legal structure for Jolocom GmbH according to the purpose model of ownership, manifesting our commitment and dedication to building a self-sovereign organization. That means we can’t take VC funding or sell public shares of the company. 

Volker: Jolocom is a community driven organisation – both in a tech sense but also much further beyond. We’re hugely involved in the DWeb community where we organize and attend events for the decentralized community. Every year we also help organize and attend the DWeb Camp in San Francisco, which brings together all kinds of creatives so this technology of tomorrow is built in a collaborative way.

Ellie: I know that before joining betahaus Jolocom was in the Ethereum office – a collaborative blockchain space for companies also building on the same platform and the idea was always to stay within a coworking space. When they closed and we had to move, the next closest choice in terms of company culture was betahaus. 

Ellie: The people in the building and the spaces are just really cool. I personally don’t go to community events as much as i would like to but I still end up meeting a lot of people here. Mostly in the kitchen. One of my good friends is actually someone I met in betahaus. 

Volker: I once saw a friend of mine presenting at betabreakfast and I didn’t know that he would be here. It was so funny seeing him on the stage.

Photo by Lea GK

Volker: There is this really nice place, called Green Rabbit with salads and baked potatoes where I like to go to. Sometimes I just keep it simple and go to Lidl.

Ellie: I eat a lot in cafe which is here around the corner and I love the Matcha Lattes from Starbucks.

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