In business, office culture can set the tone for overall company efficiency and progress. Culture dictates employee engagement, which in turn affects productivity, positivity, and possibilities. Of course, the culture in every office is different because it is made up of unique people. Each office has its nuances, routines, goals, and standards.
Culture is often cascaded from the top down, leading the head of the office or the organization to set the internal company culture. I believe that culture should be defined from the inside out. Culture should be a product of all the people that live and breathe it.
The following are some of the most important factors that contribute to company culture, and how they can be manipulated to create a positive work environment:
1. An open door policy (no offices): Walls create barriers, both physical and mental. Increase employee communication by tearing down the walls (literally!) between employees. While it’s important to have breakout rooms for phone calls and meetings, working in open space significantly increases productivity. Without walls, it takes just seconds to get an answer from coworkers, without crowding their inbox with more one-liners.
2. No hierarchy: It is critical to convey a culture where there is an understanding that no one person is more important than anyone else. Employees should never be scared to leave the office before the head honcho, so long as they’ve completed their work to the best of their ability. This will make for happier employees (due to increased work/life balance and an increased feeling of independence) and lead to a constant flow of ideas. No one will be afraid to speak up and share the unique thoughts they can bring to the table.
3. Dress code: Comfortable employees make for productive employees. Sure, there are times when we all have to dress up for meetings with clients, but allowing everyone to express themselves (within reason) helps employees stay relaxed and focused. In a suit, it’s hard to think about changing into workout gear after work to head to the gym. In casual clothes, employees will be more motivated to maintain their fitness before or after work, which will increase their overall quality of life and daytime focus.
Culture can often seem like a superficial measure, but because of its potential impact, it should not be taken lightly. A positive work environment, cascaded from the top down and solidified from the bottom up, can and will lead to positive results.