Culture and the Office
Are you looking to improve talent retention, because so many of your best staff are leaving? Perhaps you’re trying to attract staff back to the office, with little success? Good company culture is crucial to solving both of these problems (and many others). The environment your people work in impacts your culture. If it’s not good enough, your culture won’t be, either.
There are 9 key components of culture. These are vision & values, processes, communication, leadership, learning & development, environment, recognition, compensation, and wellbeing. Your workplace plays a big role in three of those: environment, communication, and wellbeing.
In this article, we’ll go through 3 essential ways you can improve your company culture by refurbishing your office. By the end, you’ll understand exactly how your office affects your company culture, and how you can take advantage of an office refurbishment to improve your company culture.
1) Create a Culture Experience
Today, attracting and retaining the right people for your business has never been so difficult. Providing a unique culture experience in your office is a key part of creating a great culture. Many people think of office branding as a logo in the reception and a few walls in the brand colours. However, you can use the entire office, from the layout to the finishes to the amenities, to create an office experience that brings your culture to life. It includes the entire experience your staff have throughout the day, from the chairs they sit in, to the coffee they drink. It all affects the mindset of your staff.
The best office design don’t only look amazing. They provide an immersive brand experience that embodies the company's culture and values. As a result, staff produce work that is much more aligned with that culture.
How To Improve Brand Experience
To create a workplace experience that boosts culture, create an office that brings your brand to life. The first part to improve your culture through brand experience is to make sure the layout of your office matches the way your people need to work. Is there enough space and the right facilities for your staff to collaborate effectively? Are there too many desks, making your company seem outdated and too formal?
Once the right layout has been sorted, you can move on to the finishes. The most obvious place to start is the walls, both in terms of signage and colour schemes. Digital graphics, graffiti or artwork can also help communicate your brand. It extends to every finish in your space, from the carpets to the upholstery on the task chairs. It’s all part of your brand home, so making sure it contributes to the brand experience will help you build and maintain a great culture. To learn more, read How to Create an On-Brand Office.
2) Increase Collaboration Space
Effective communication is at the heart of collaboration. The workspace plays a big role in communication by providing the best environment for ongoing collaboration. Having your people together in an office that reinforces your culture doesn’t guarantee a great culture, but it makes it much easier. When colleagues only communicate via laptops, it is difficult to build shared commitment.
Collaboration spaces are different from meeting spaces. The emphasis is on working together, not sharing information. There are many different kinds of collaboration spaces. These range from two-person work booths to large stand-up collaboration tables. It is important you have a variety of collaboration spaces that suit the way your people work. By enabling your people to work together in the way that suits their role, culture will be improved throughout your office.
How to Improve Collaboration
Collaboration spaces are more than just meeting rooms or kitchen areas. 3 years ago, most offices featured about 10% collaboration space. Today’s office designs should feature between 30 and 45% collaboration space. If your office is still all desks and boardrooms, communication and collaboration will be stifled. This will be a drag on culture.
Collaboration is not one size fits all. It happens in a wide variety of ways, with different numbers of people. To cater for this, you need to make sure your space is as adaptable as possible. There are a wide variety of movable and modular furniture solutions available from seats to presentation boards. Your people need an easy way to congregate and share ideas, so every collaboration space looks different. To take the next step, read 5 Ways to Improve Collaboration with Office Design.
3) Design for Wellbeing
The physical and mental health of your staff is absolutely central to good company culture. If your office is a drab, unergonomic desk farm that provides no sort of inspiration, the personal health of your people will suffer. This will have a very damaging effect on your company culture. If you want to get staff back to the office, you will have to attract, rather than mandate. This means the office has to offer a significantly better experience than remote working. A crucial part of this is wellbeing.
Workers in the UK lose an average of 30.4 working days a year due to sickness, or illness-related underperformance, costing the economy £78bn. Even if your people are at work, if their wellbeing is poor, their performance will be far below what it could be.
How to Improve Wellbeing
To improve well-being in your office, biophilic design is crucial. Biophilic design maximises the use of natural resources and materials in your offices, from natural light to wooden surfaces. Modern offices maximising biophilic design have reported a 30% decrease in sickness-related absences. They also reported an increase in cognition and sleep quality.
Having a variety of environments within your office is also a good way to improve culture through wellbeing. This variety will give them autonomy over their working style and environment. Research has shown that employees have reduced levels of stress and increased happiness when they have autonomy. Want to learn more? Read about the Top 5 Office Amenities to Improve Wellbeing.
Improving Your Culture With Office Refurbishment
Culture is crucial to the success of your company. As one IBM CEO said: “Culture isn't just one aspect of the game, it is the game. In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.”
If your culture needs improvement and your office is part of the issue, then an office refurbishment can be an excellent catalyst to improve your company atmosphere. Your office has a major impact on 3 of the 9 aspects of culture, so this could have a significant influence. An office that ensures the wellbeing of your staff is absolutely essential. By creating an on-brand workspace, you will attract your staff to the space and immerse them in your company values. Facilitating collaboration will build commitment between colleagues, further strengthening culture.
It’s also important to remember that a refurbishment alone won’t improve your culture. Your office refurbishment needs to be combined with an effort to improve all the other elements of culture. If you still have poor processes or compensation, an office refurbishment won’t have the impact on your culture that it could and should have.
Think you need an office refurbishment to help improve your company culture? Then download your copy of How to Plan an Office Refurbishment. It’s a 7-step guide to help you plan your office refurbishment, from defining your brief right through to signing the contract! Download your copy here.