“Everybody’s gotten so comfortable working from home, but people are not actually happy working from home. And so they need to be prodded a little bit.”
Founder, President, and CEO
.…on the importance of working with others in person, having “serendipitous interactions,” and creating thought diversity in companies, via Keurig’s “Café Culture” podcast.
Clark was a recent guest on Keurig’s “Café Culture” podcast, which explored ideas about creating café culture from the coworking category. (He’ll also be a speaker at the Global Workspace Association Flex Forward Conference in Frisco this week, as he notes on LinkedIn.)
Earlier this year, Common Desk was acquired by WeWork for an undisclosed amount. Clark continues to lead the company, which has 23 locations in Texas and North Carolina.
In the podcast, Clark talks about how he founded Common Desk; how he loves it when people walk in off the street mistaking the company’s locations for a bar; and how he first discovered the “magic” of having “serendipitous interactions” while coworking.
But two topics jump out of the podcast: why it’s important for introverts to be “prodded” into going back to the office, and why companies should look for “culture adds,” not “culture fits.”
‘Almost all of us like to identify as introverts’
“I think almost all of us like to identify as introverts—even people that are very outgoing,” Clark says in the podcast. “Everybody’s gotten so comfortable working from home, but people are not actually happy working from home. And so they need to be prodded a little bit. Get ’em back into the office, get ’em back into public areas like cafés and coworking spaces.”
“And so I do think that some of it has to be forced,” he adds. “Because left to our own, we’d say ‘Hey, let’s just do what’s comfortable.’ And what’s comfortable is not actually going out there and putting yourself out on a limb and trying to meet new people. That’s not comfortable to most people. But then you get there, and you’re like, ‘Wow, I just had a great time and that John guy, he’s got some good ideas.’
Reframing the idea of ‘culture fits’ to ‘culture adds’
Another insight Clark explores: why looking for “culture fits” could be holding companies back.
“I think a lot of companies make the mistake of thinking they need to find more ‘culture fits’ for their company. And finding culture fits is literally the exact opposite of what we’re talking about here with thought diversity,” Clark says. “You’re hiring the same type of person over and over and over again. You see companies of all sizes make that mistake. Especially founders—founders are like, ‘Hey, I want more people that are kinda like me.’”
“But then you look up and everybody at the company looks like you, thinks like you, speaks like you—and you’re missing out on a lot of new ideas, a lot of new perspectives that could be brought into the company.”
“So I would encourage companies to kind of reframe the way that they think of hires from ‘culture fits’ to ‘culture adds.’ Let’s figure out the type of people that are missing in this organization and let’s keep adding to this culture. Let’s keep expanding this culture.”
“That’s not only going to help you hire a more diversified talent pool, it’s going to help you hire better talent.”
You can hear the whole podcast by going here.
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