Looking to create great company culture? Studies show to start with your office space
When it comes to growing and running a successful business, customer-facing aspects are widely-discussed in the business world – whether that’s how to optimize prospect targeting, enhance your product suite or facilitate a flawless customer experience. While customers are the economic drivers who keep your business afloat, it’s your employees who keep it operating smoothly. Despite their importance though, employee-centric topics – from company culture to vacation policies to reward systems – seem to take a backseat to customer-related topics.
The data reflects this lack of attention to employees, with a reported 61% of U.S. workers feeling burnt out at their current position. Additionally, a company’s reputation regarding how you treat employees matters, as evidenced by 86% of potential employees stating they wouldn’t apply or continue to work for a company that has bad standing with former employees.
So, how do you create great company culture? One critical step that often gets overlooked is the design of an office space. By creating a welcoming work environment, companies bolster team morale, increase employee retention and enhance overall productivity in the workplace. Let’s look at six ways companies can enhance their company culture through their office space.
Consider A Pet-Friendly Office
From cafes to office spaces, more and more places are becoming pet-friendly. For good reason too – according to a study in Time magazine, pet owners tend to have lower risks of high blood pressure, unhealthy heart rate and heart disease. In high stress corporate office environments, where sales are constantly closing and quarterly goals must be met, having a pet around can brighten the mood and in turn, spark productivity.
Serious consideration in changing the office pet policy could be a catalyst in improving workplace morale.
Make Sure Your Office Is Well Lit
There’s a reason why we feel more at ease in a brightly lit department store than a dimly lit shop. By the same token, there’s a reason why we feel more at ease in a dimly lit bar than we do a brightly lit one. The primary reason? Consumer psychology.
As human beings, the amount of light we have access to during certain activities has an impact on our mental state. A study by the Kellogg School of Management found consumers tend to spend more money in well-lit settings during day time activities like shopping than they do in darker stores. During nighttime festivities, consumers spend more money in dimmer settings.
The same principle applies to office spaces. If your office is illuminated with a solid amount of natural light, your employees will feel more comfortable and congenial than they would in a darker, duller workspace.
“The design of your office is crucial when it comes to sales – along with finding the balance between that creative touch that gives personality to your business, the productivity of your employees and your bottom line,” says Baruj Avram, Founder of Titanium Group, parent company of Regency Real Estate, a firm that specializes in commercial, residential, and mixed-use real estate.
The Regency Group is avid about keeping office spaces well-illuminated, and are proponents of the close association between office design and workplace productivity – which they feel has been one of the keys to their sustained success.
Provide Employees With a Standing Desk Option
With research from Mayo Clinic and various other reputable publications highlighting the health risks of prolonged sitting, standing desks have seen a surge in popularity in recent years. From increased risk of obesity to higher blood pressure to abnormal cholesterol levels, the potential damage from prolonged periods of sitting on a regular basis span far and wide.
By giving your employees the option of a standing desk, it can help them gain mental clarity by being more active throughout their otherwise sedentary days. This will help combat not only the health risks associated with prolonged sitting, but employee burnout and fatigue as well.
Consider Pros and Cons of Open Offices
With the meteoric rise of co-working spaces and shared office spaces, many startups and other businesses have adopted the open office style – believing it will improve cross-team communication and eliminate the isolation of cubicles. Yet, recent research has illustrated open offices might not be as beneficial as the business world has perceived them to be.
According to a study conducted by Harvard Business School, open offices actually decreased the volume of face-to-face interaction by a whopping 70%. On top of that, one-third of surveyed workers felt distractions and noise from open work spaces actually hinder their productivity, while one in six said it presents hurdles for their creativity as well.
Plants and Decor Can Impact Productivity
Stale, dull workplaces can be uninspiring for employees – and whether we want to admit it or not, perception is reality. Meaning, an office space that looks low in quality or haphazardly strung together is a signal to workers that the company might be cutting corners elsewhere. It’s important to pay attention to detail and invest in decor that gives your workspace character and is a reflection of the company – whether that’s with the furnishings, centerpieces or art.
Bringing some natural beauty indoors by adding plants to the office can have physical and psychological benefits for employees. Plants not only clean the air, but have been found to reduce stress levels in work environments. Washington State University research found that participants in their study had lower blood pressure when working in a room with live plants. And 10% reported feeling more attentive after performing a task than those tested without plants.
Making sure your office appears hygienic, contains tasteful decorations, is kept at a comfortable temperature, and has benefits such as a roomy kitchen or break room is integral to illustrating your dedication to the employees who keep your business running.
“If you don’t check all of these boxes above, it is time to make a change because your office is reflecting the culture, state and DNA of your company,” advises Avram.
Invest in Your Break Rooms
According to a recent, nationwide survey conducted by Tork, there is a direct link between lunch breaks and workplace productivity – with 90% of participants claiming their breaks make them feel more focused and ready to go back to work. In your office, investing in break rooms could be a terrific way to also invest in the well-being of your employees. In addition to the psychological benefits, break rooms can also be a great way to build community among team members as it’s typically the main area for them to mingle.
To start, consider offering a variety of snacks and games to take the edge off during the workday. You could even give employees a discount on monthly subscriptions to meditation services like Headspace or Calm, which will help them stay centered and dialed in throughout the day.
Despite the topic often getting overlooked, employee well-being is an absolutely critical component when it comes to effectively running and growing your company.