Between online businesses looking for an affordable home base and low-budget startups trying to save money on rent, many companies choose to set up shop in up-and-coming neighbourhoods. It can be difficult for a business to be the new kid on the block, but there are a number of ways to connect with your new neighbours while bettering the local community. Read on for six ways that your company can make a difference for good in your ‘hood:
1. Take Pride In Your Appearance
Whether you have a large storefront or you’re just renting an office space, be sure that your location helps to improve the local landscape. Keep your surroundings free of clutter and debris, spruce up the building with a fresh coat of paint if necessary, and take time for a bit of landscaping, even if it’s just setting out a couple of colourful potted plants. Your neighbors will notice that you’re making an effort, and they’ll appreciate it.
2. Clean Up The Trash
Do you find yourself constantly stepping over empty bottles and other garbage around the neighbourhood? Organise a regular company-wide trash pick-up day to spruce up the local blocks, and invite your neighbours to join in.
3. Reach Out To Local Schools
Chances are there’s at least one school in your area that would welcome a few hours of volunteering each month. Think about something unique that your company could offer to students – a graphic design firm might offer design services or one-day apprenticeships. An architect might help create plans for an on-campus kitchen garden. You could also ask administrators where they have a need, and volunteer yourself where you’re most useful. Encourage your employees to do the same.
4. Go Green
If the nearby green spaces are trending toward brown, check in with your city administrators to see how you can improve the landscape. Planting trees, installing planters and weeding overgrown flower beds will make a major impact on the local landscape and might encourage neighbours to put more effort into their own homes and businesses as well.
5. Be A Social Butterfly
What’s the best way to meet your neighbours? Invite them out to an official company-hosted event. Show off your space or rent out a local park or recreational centre. Offer food and refreshments, preferably sourced from a locally-based vendor. Let your new neighbours know how excited you are to be part of the community, and communicate your passion for improving the area.
6. Don’t Keep It A Secret
Ideally, your reasons for reaching out to the local community should be completely altruistic, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it anonymously. Take pride in the work you’re doing on behalf of your company, and be sure that everyone knows who you are – and who they have to thank. Print bright T-shirts with the company logo for staffers to wear when volunteering, and actively promote any events or projects you’re involved in. Let the world know how you’re helping your local community, because it says a lot about your overall company culture.
What are some ways your company has gotten involved in the local community? Please share your ideas in the comments section!