The workplace’s design is the physical representation of the company’s culture. When potential recruits first enter an office, perhaps for an interview, they’re observing their surroundings. They’re watching how the employees and managers interact and noticing where they’re seated. They’re studying the layout of the office and workspaces.
However, job applicants aren’t only looking at whether the office is outfitted with the latest technology or modern equipment. They’re trying to gather through their observations a sense of whether the work environment is “as advertised” and a good match for them. Therefore, the right work environment is crucial to attracting and retaining talent. Here are some tips on how to align the work environment with company culture:
Build an employee-centric workplace
When an organization posts a job ad, it summarizes the job objective and outlines the position’s tasks and responsibilities. What the job posting also aims to attract the best talent is a description of the company’s culture, including its mission and values. The goal is for someone with the relevant skills and relates to the company culture will apply for the position.
But what if that candidate arrives at the office to find that the work environment is not what they expected? What if the workspaces and their people don’t reflect the company culture? For instance, what if the company describes itself as collaborative, creative, and transparent, yet the office is filled with cubicles of workers that seemingly work in silos. And what if the managers are in offices with the blinds and doors closed, making management seem distant and unapproachable? If these are the cases, then the company culture and work environment are inconsistent.
Use WELL concepts as a guide
Today’s workers expect workplace environments that boost their productivity and don’t put their health and well-being at risk. Therefore, organizations should be designing their office spaces to promote happiness and performance, regardless of the type of company culture. A company that doesn’t make its employees’ health and wellbeing a priority shouldn’t exist in the first place. That’s why they developed a framework for organizations to create workplace environments catering to overall wellness.
Using WELL as a guide for designing effective workplaces may include desk options, natural lighting, windows, and even office nap rooms. These ideas come from WELL’s pillar concepts which include air, water, light, comfort, mind, and nourishment.
Stay flexible and leave room for growth
At some point, leadership may find areas for improvement and need to redefine its values and principles. They may also need to make adjustments to their work environments to represent the changes in interactions and behaviors better. An example of this would be a company that no longer believes that keeping departments separate aligns with their beliefs. Flexibility means having the ability to make changes, such as moving workstations and employees to promote collaboration between departments.
Developing a company culture does not happen overnight, and neither does building a work environment that reflects it. Start by defining your company culture. Plan for an employee-centric work environment that drives culture and nurtures community values. Maintain flexibility to change as your company evolves.
Are you struggling with aligning your physical workplace with company culture? Let’s talk about it. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.