Company culture is impacted by many different elements. Philosophy and values play a large role, but office environment is equally influential. Aesthetics and ergonomic factors like furniture, decor, layout and overall office design can all play a major role in your company’s culture.
What Research Says
Blue Kite Marketing performed a study where they asked companies whether or not they believed office environment affected their company culture. According to their research, “53 percent of companies said their physical space – including design, decor and layout – reflects their brand.” This is a clear indication that there is an overlap. Specifically, business owners should think about key elements in the environment.
Darkly colored, dimly lit offices tends to signal a serious and formal environment that can come across as unfriendly to customers and clients. Employees may work independently where minimal interaction takes place. This emits a closed-off feel.
Conversely, a light colored office indicates a warmer atmosphere where a lot of collaboration goes on. Google’s offices are a great example.
Organization (or the Lack Thereof)
Office organization is another reflection of company culture. Are employees’ desks cluttered with piles of papers? Is it highly organized with a minimalist vibe? Or is it somewhere in between?
Generally speaking, a well-organized office indicates your company has its ducks in a row. You’re efficient, stay on top of projects and usually meet deadlines. An office with a lot of clutter that’s in general disarray tends to mean the opposite.
There are two primary types of layouts – open and closed. Open layouts include few, if any, barriers between desks. Employees work side-by-side within close proximity of each other. Cultures that value collaboration often opt for an open layout. They are catching on in many modern offices and are popular with millennials.
A closed layout was very common in the 80’s and 90’s, consisting of a standard cubicle-based office. It lends itself to less interaction and collaboration, which may indicate less chemistry and cohesion among your staff.
Are your employees using sleek, modern laptops they can easily unplug to seamlessly transition to a different workstation? Or are they using goliath, antiquated desktops that render them immobile?
The former is usually found at more innovative companies that are tech-savvy and value a collaborative environment. The latter is often found at more traditional companies where innovation and collaboration may be lacking.
Your office environment may impact your company culture more than you think. In many ways, it can shape your company’s value and collective mindset. It can also influence the direction your company takes and its overall success. If you’re not satisfied with your current office environment, you may want to revamp it so that it’s more in line with your company’s vision.