Shifts in management styles and business growth are two intangible factors which influence the culture in your workplace, however one often overlooked contributor is the tangible environment in which your business operates. These tangible, physical factors include your office design and furniture choices which can play an integral role in defining your company culture.
Both the tangible and intangible factors combine to create a unique set of norms and behaviours which shapes how your employees interact and communicate, resulting in what can be a fantastic workplace culture with happy, productive employees, or conversely a negative culture where employees have low morale, high stress and consequently resulting in a high churn rate.
We look at how office design can shape company culture, proposing ways in which your space can be designed to create a positive workplace culture.
Use of Space
Many jobseekers look for a ‘fun and social’ company culture, preferring employers who can provide a culture which nurtures a sense of community, belonging and can facilitate the development of friendships.
Office design can change your company culture to suit the demands of the typical jobseeker, as designing spaces where employees can be comfortable and have informal chats such as breakout spaces, games areas and even bars are popular ways of promoting a sense of community even outside of working hours.
This can have a lasting impact on your employees as even when work becomes stressful, they’ll have space to decompress and chat to their friends and likeminded colleagues.
Changing company culture through office design entails more than just buying desks and chairs desks but rather looks at the design of all furniture within your space. Employees spend a significant amount of time at the office therefore it important to ensure that each space within your office design is comfortable and well suited to the needs of the job, with the overall benefit being that employees are happier and more productive during their working hours.
Breakout spaces, quiet meeting pods and desk chairs should all be designed with comfort in mind, especially if you’re looking to inspire a collaborative culture as employees can relax and brainstorm new ideas without distraction. Flexible spaces and sit stand desks allow employees to adjust the space which is comfortable and meet their needs, providing a much needed boost to cultures which focus on productivity and efficiency.
Lighting design and ventilation can also have an impact on comfort as poor ventilation and flickering lights can contribute towards a phenomenon known as Sick Building Syndrome. The negative consequences include headaches, dry eyes and tiredness which can both cause and be caused by stress amongst your team. To avoid a culture with poor morale, high employee absenteeism and stress then making each element of your office design comfortable is vital to ensuring healthy, happy employees.
Branding isn’t limited to just your company logo, but rather the values, missions and vision of your organisation which can be a great way of changing company culture through office design. An example of this are brands who place innovation at the forefront of their strategy, in which case spaces could be designed to house the latest innovations, facilitating the development of new technologies and fostering an innovative culture.
Of course using brand colours and signage can create a sense of belonging for employees but careful use of colour can also have a psychological impact on employees. Bland grey and white spaces can increase feelings of sadness amongst employees, orange and yellow can boost creativity red can boost productivity and blue can have a relaxing impact on employees.
Different spaces should have different colour schemes depending on how the space is used, for example a breakout space could be painted with a relaxing blue colour and collaborative spaces could be designed with a vibrant yellow theme to generate a more creative and collaborative culture.
Author- Marcus Livesey, Marketing Executive at Officeinsight