A positive work environment can boost performance and improve morale. Here are three ways to enhance your workspace while building company culture.
As any CEO or small-business owner will tell you, company culture is vital for long-term success. The reasons are many, but it’s mostly due to the role company culture plays in the motivation and morale of employees, communication between management and staff, and collaboration within teams. All of this together can impact employee work performance and bottom lines, which is often the ultimate concern for company leaders.
For managers and owners, shaping the values and behaviors that make up a company culture is an ongoing challenge. But one method can be found in how you set up the workspace where employees spend their days working and interacting. Review the top three ways to improve work performance by creating a more productive workspace to suit your company culture.
The Traditional Workspace
A workspace filled with cubicle walls and office doors has been the traditional setup used for decades by many American companies. Although it may have fallen out of favor with forward-thinking startups these days, there are plenty of industries and businesses where a traditional workspace is the best fit for a particular company culture.
For starters, a traditional workspace gives a company more control over its employees and greater influence over its culture, which is especially important for large, well-established corporations with strong vertical hierarchies, as well as the small businesses that wish to emulate them. Separate offices and cubicle space can translate to fewer outside distractions, allowing workers to better focus on the tasks at hand. They can also make for a retreat space to work on complex problems, secure sensitive company material, or conduct private phone calls with clients.
At the same time, a traditional workspace shouldn’t be dreary. Try to bring in as much natural light as possible, and if you have the option, choose a building with high ceilings to give a more open, spacious feel. You can also consider alternative lighting options, and set up a lounge area where employees can connect or collaborate in a relaxed setting.
The Open Workspace
Step inside a modern workspace, and you’ll often see a large, open room filled with employees behind work station monitors, sitting side by side at long tables or stretched out on leather couches with a laptop. It’s a sharp contrast to the traditional office setup but one that offers a great deal of flexibility for businesses that want to build a non-traditional company culture.
The open workspace is especially suited to businesses where creativity is a premium, and collaboration between employees is both encouraged and easily facilitated. With no separate offices, such a setup also allows companies to flatten the hierarchy between management and staff. This can foster a culture of communication, where every employee feels more empowered to provide input on company decisions, both large and small. It can also enable a company to be more nimble, easily changing course to keep up with competition.
You can also enhance an open workspace by bringing in some traditional touches. Set up an enclosed conference or office room where teams can meet in private or where a worker can retreat for some private work time.
The Reduced Workspace
Depending on your type of business and work arrangements, you may be able to scale down your workspace, or even eliminate it altogether. This is particularly true for certain industries, such as technology or digital media, that rely in part on remote workers to best facilitate its operations, and where employees have clear assignments and production quotas. An example might include an investment company or online news site that operates around the clock, with workers distributed in time zones around the globe to take advantage of breaking news or stock prices.
In a setup where much of the workspace is virtual, communication is key to establishing company culture and keeping workers motivated and on track. To keep employees engaged and performance levels high, managers need to provide plenty of contact and feedback through phone calls, Skype, or email, while interaction between coworkers should be encouraged through group messaging apps such as Slack. Ultimately, a reduced workspace can help build a company culture that values independence and individual responsibility, encouraging workers to take on an entrepreneurial mindset that pushes the company forward.
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