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.


Well, both. Currently we offer the following two options: shorter publicly available Brand Playlists and long-form private Soundtracks for spaces. For both of them we work closely with the client to understand how sound fits into their brand DNA and what their audience is like.

We believe that the guests’ experience with a particular space doesn’t have to begin and end with their stay. The idea of the Brand Playlist is to be a public brand playlists designed to engage the customers before, during, and after their visit at a space. It’s always accessible for them and serves as a new, dynamic marketing channel.

The Soundtrack is slightly different. It takes sometimes up to weeks of work and is designed by a world-class artist, DJ, or tastemaker. For it we first work with you to develop a deep understanding of your business and style. Then we match you with the perfect artist, DJ, or tastemaker to create unique, always fresh playlists, custom tailored to match your brand. 

In both cases, we update them regularly based on guest habits and clients’ needs. 

People in beta Clay Bassford Bespoke Sound

The way we engage with the music community is something really important for us and honestly, what makes us different than other background music providers. A lot of the background music providers out there have internal teams of maybe five or six DJs that do all of the music for their clients. We aim to connect with the local scene and always work with local DJs. There's some kind of magic in finding the exact right artists for the brand.

And on the flip side of it, when we hire artists, we make sure that the project is also inspiring for them and that they would be interested in participating. We always make sure to pay them well. The whole project creates for them a new income stream that they wouldn't have otherwise.

People in beta Clay Bassford Bespoke Sound

Yes! This was really fun. The objective with the betahaus "betabeer sounds" playlist was to showcase the community side of betahaus. There are so many cool, interesting people in the betahaus community and we thought a playlist could be a perfect way to not only help bring the community together but also show the diverse funkiness of the communities of Berlin and Neukölln, which is why Hazy Pockets, a longtime local Berlin DJ known for his eclectic mixes, was perfect for this project.

This playlist moves from bluesy 60s rock into surf and tropicalia, picking up momentum into Motown and onwards through some laid back disco tunes. Perfect for the betabeer events betahaus hosts monthly!


Oh, there are just so many! Like the Imren Grill for instance where you can find the best homemade Turkish food or Das Gift and Gordon which are both run by great music people. Kohelenquelle in Prenzleuer Berg is my favorite local bar (or rather kneipe). To satisfy my  techno / electronic records needs I always go to Hard Wax and one of my most special places is the Zions Kirche steeple, which has an awesome view of the city and a great Weinerei close by. 

You can see me around betahaus. Online, you can always check out my website and listen to our public playlists on Spotify. We’re also currently working on a collaboration with betahaus, so a special Playlist curated by is will very soon sound around the spaces in Kreuzberg and Neukölln. 


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