Is your workplace welcoming?

This week I started working at a new university - I moved my Fellowship to Swinburne University in Melbourne (no more commuting to Canberra!). It's got me thinking a lot about what makes a place and space feel welcoming. 

Time for connecting with each other

The first things I noticed were that people were happy and didn't seem so rushed that they couldn't say hello and have a proper chat - lovely! That tells me that either people aren't so overloaded and stressed that they can talk OR that the work culture is such that it is highly valued to connect with other people. 

{Incidentally, I've already learnt so much about new areas as diverse as media 'wave' ownership and how the unaffordable housing market is shaping our relationships (you end up not being friends with people priced out of your area) and a much bigger issue than energy prices (it's that we are spending so much on rent and mortgages, not that energy prices are too high)!}

I was then invited to a regular morning tea on Fridays. People take turns to put together a lovely spread and then everyone comes and talks to each other. This probably shouldn't seem novel, but it is. People actually sat down and talked. 

In two days I properly met about six- ten people. As in, I could say what they do and we got a chance to really exchange and connect. So good.

I was given a welcome lunch! How lovely is that! Again, something that could so easily be overlooked but was arranged and made an impact on me. 

Ooh I was also walked around campus and shown all the things I needed, including particularly important insights around best places to eat and the sweetest baristas.

Welcoming spaces

When walking around the offices, I was struck by how welcoming the workspaces were. I put it down to two main reasons: freedom to decorate and inclusive decorating!

Firstly, there are no restrictions (within reason) on decorating your work area or office. There was everything from awesome feminist posters, funny cartoons, photos and beautiful pieces of art. 

It's symbolically important to encourage people to own and decorate spaces. It allows them to bring themselves to work - sure, you're professional, but you can also have passions, family and friends and a wicked sense of humour. I've heard of workplaces where you aren't allowed anything on the walls, even your name. This is more and more common with hot-desking and mobile seating arrangements. 

Now, you may wonder what I mean by inclusive decorating. I've just made that term up (I think). I LOVED seeing all the rainbow flags around. They were liberally spread around the place and it felt so good. It felt great to see these symbols of LGBT+ love. Because when we love and include everyone, we are all loved and included. 


My own welcome pack

It's not all about what others do and the spaces you come into. I like to make my own little welcome pack. I put in it things like my own beautiful mug and a selection of things that make life better in an office. See my photo below!


My hot tip is lemon infused olive oil for salads and just about any re-heats for lunch... oh and wipes for cleaning the desk. They always need a re-clean!

My hot tip is lemon infused olive oil for salads and just about any re-heats for lunch... oh and wipes for cleaning the desk. They always need a re-clean!


What could you do to welcome new staff or make your work environment more welcoming?

Go and do it! 

Huge love, 
Lara xx


Hi, I'm Dr Lara Corr, a life coach and specialist in wellbeing at work. I support professionals to discover and live with conscious ambition through private coaching, group workshops and gorgeous retreats. 

I'd love to keep in touch - let's connect on my Facebook and Instagram pages.