People are an organisations most important and expensive asset; their happiness, well-being and satisfaction have an enormous impact on business outcomes. A toxic office culture can lead to higher staff turnover, lower productivity, and a loss in business profitability. A positive work environment doesn’t just happen, it’s a slow process that requires the right ingredients.
So, the million-dollar question is, how do you create a great workplace culture? Here are our top 3 design tips to help create a positive workplace culture.
1) Workplace Layout
In order to design the right workplace layout for your people, it’s important to understand how your business and team works and operates. What do they need in order to work at their peak performance? Do they work better in collaboration spaces or in private offices? Open plan with neighbourhoods or segregated groups?
How you design your office has a serious impact on the culture. For example, if you place your employees in cubicles or private offices, far away from the team’s they work the most with, it creates the culture of separation, and lack of communication across the entire business, leading to a fragmented team environment.
When considering your design, remember people these days spend more time at work than at home, and they work best when they are comfortable. Consider creating multiple working environments to cater to different work styles, the purpose of the work, people’s moods and preferences. For example; booths, collaboration/break out spaces, quiet rooms, phone booths, large and small meeting rooms, and wellness areas.
Create a high performing mindset, allowing them to choose which areas best support them to be the most productive, whether it’s a small meeting, or hour of power, phone booth to make a call, or a large meeting room with all the gadgets needed to be creative and work with a group. A flexible and adaptable working environment is key to promote a positive work culture, promoting agile working and collaboration, rather than a fixed, overbearing environment. Certain industries need a fixed workspace, but the office should still offer and promote flexibility to work in different spaces to meet clients, take phone calls, and conduct meetings.
Following the trends don’t always work, for instance hot desking or open plan doesn’t suit all professions, e.g. lawyers and accountants generally need stability in the work environment, as they have confidential documents which require a permanent desk and storage space. When trying to build a great culture, it’s always best to design your workspace for people, and what they need to best function individually and as a team.
2) Workplace Design & Branding
When looking to develop a workplace culture, the interior design should represent the company’s brand, culture, values and business objective.
Branding can be represented through furniture, paint and even layout. Colour is an essential part of creating the company culture and representing the brand, but it is also important not to go overboard and splash colour everywhere as that can create an overwhelming environment which can negatively impact some employees.
Lighting can also make a difference; white light in the workplace helps team members work effectively, rather than a warm light at workstations, while adding feature lighting can make an office stand out and create atmosphere, increasing staff engagement.
Furniture and finishes can also represent the businesses brand, and impact culture. The type of materials, colour and style can affect your companies visual identity and perception for staff and clients alike, for example, styles like vintage, modern, and budget all represent different cultural elements.
Your workplace design should be an environment that attracts and retain employee now and into the future.
3) Promote work-life balance.
In today’s business environment, people are working longer hours, and are always online due to the flexibility technology has brought to our lives. Therefore, promoting a healthy work-life balance is key to ensure your team is not burnt out, or has low job satisfaction, ultimately impacting the workplaces culture. Staff wellness perks, gym memberships, workplace massage angels, VR games room, lounge breakout areas, encouraging staff to go home on time ,or even having a ping pong table at the office are just a few of the many ways you can help your team switch off and come back refreshed and more productive, with a higher job satisfaction.
Workplace culture has a significant impact on a business and its people, from productivity, to emotional satisfaction, staff turnover, revenue and profit. Culture cannot be defined by one single element, and it generally starts at the top, but exceptional, well planned design can support a positive working environment, leading to a great office culture.