Looking for ideas to improve office productivity? On top of activities to improve workplace culture, the design of your workspace can absolutely have a significant impact on your company’s culture and productivity, and vice versa. When the two things are aligned, it’s motivating and inspiring. When they aren’t, well… you can imagine the results!
How Does Workplace Design Affect Company Culture?
The spaces we inhabit, the things we surround ourselves within our day-to-day, all have a direct effect on our mental and physical health. This is a universal fact, applicable to almost any situation in life.
When it comes to workplace design, what must be kept in mind is that it is a place where your whole team works and your team’s wellbeing has a direct effect on your company and how well they perform.
Think of the design of a workplace much like a first impression. It’s the first thing people will notice when they walk into your business, whether those people are new potential clients, or potential employees. A thoughtfully designed workspace helps show people what things are allowed and encouraged in your workplace, and what aren’t.
One big question many ask is, should a workplace design be made to suit and represent current company culture or should company culture be modified to suit a new workplace design?
The answer is highly subjective and depends on your situation. Workplace design can be used to change the culture of a workplace by showing people new priorities of your company, and eliminating redundant design elements. However, the alternative is also true.
Ultimately, your workplace design should be an apt representation of your company’s image and culture, and be in tune with your brand, while working to reinforce your company’s goals and values.
So, before learning how to make a collaborative office space and embarking on an office reconfiguration, the first thing that needs to be identified is the general umbrella of your company’s culture. This all relates to what your company offers as a product or service, what your business goals are, the attributes of your brand, and how well you use market research to fine-tune what you’ve got to offer to the right people.
Though there are a number of workplace designs and cultures in use by companies worldwide, most fall under somewhat standard categories, and simply become new iterations of that category.
As the name suggests, company cultures that showcase and promote the individuality of their employees and encourage experimenting. This type of culture should be supported by workplace design. Such a space might contain, for example, informal group discussion areas with perhaps a sofa or a loveseat and a small lounge table, as well as free-flowing work areas. Think flexible and organic, and you’re on the right track.
Collaborative workspace cultures require workplace designs that help promote collaboration and help to make the most of interactions between individuals and teams. The focus of this type of design should be to promote team building and collaboration. Maybe that means designated lounge areas for workplace chats or open cubicle desk options that allow team members to speak freely. Mobile wall units can also be helpful and keep the workspace flexible to suit your needs.
A compete workspace culture is all about speed, performance, and results. Therefore, this type of space should take a balanced approach. This type of workspace design might include both individual work spaces as well as group spaces, with areas for private meetings and collaborations.
Companies and cultures that desire to establish hierarchical control and stability within their organization are what is known as control cultures. Such a space should be designed with both individual and teamwork areas, with a well-structured layout.
Steps to Strengthen the Relationship Between Workplace Design and Company Culture
Company culture is affected by multiple factors related to your workspace design, depending on the type of work your company does.
Number of Workstations vs. Number of Meeting Rooms
The number of workstations can have a big impact on your workspace design and is directly affected by the size of your workforce. If your company culture is focused on individual growth and competitiveness, a higher number of workstations might be needed.
Following the same logic, if your company culture is focused on collaborations and teamwork, your number of meeting rooms and breakout areas needed would be higher.
Access to natural light is a key component when designing an efficient workspace. While your company culture may have a small impact on this, more often than not, the goal for any design project should be to maximize all the natural light that’s available, especially in an office.
An open and properly illuminated workspace radiates a sense of freshness and openness, and promotes trust between employees, as well as with your clients. Access to natural light is also essential for proper functioning and maintenance of both the mental and physical health of your team members.
The type of technology used in a workspace is also important when designing. For example, in a technology development and design company, employees might require access to a 3D printer, programming computers, and other techie gadgets. Supplying employees with the right cubicle accessories can have benefits for productivity and culture.
Additionally, they may work together in teams throughout the various stages of product design and development. This means that your culture and design must help foster interpersonal relations between employees, yet also allow for the individual growth of a person.
The type of amenities that are provided or required in a workspace can have a significant impact on company culture. For example, a workspace designed to include a small kitchenette or snack bar shows employees that the company cares about their health; similarly, a workspace that includes relaxation rooms helps to create a culture of mutual support and care.
Surprisingly, the color scheme of your workspace can affect overall company culture. Different colors have different impacts on people. For example, the color blue is often associated with professionalism and high quality work, whereas bright colors such as orange are known to spark creativity.
A marble floor creates a sense of luxury; light colors create a feeling of openness and illumination. Ergo, your color scheme should be chosen according to the type of company culture you want it to support.
The furniture elements in a workspace are also related to the company culture they must fit with. For example, for a high cost company, the furniture used should match the standards of the clientele. If the employees are supposed to be highly qualified, top-of-their-field people, their offices should be furnished accordingly. Whereas for a company that works on a control workspace model, the furniture can be standard items.
What Type of Designs are Best to Improve Company Culture?
There is no one-size-fits-all design, but there are a few things that help improve a company’s culture that you can try implementing.
While it largely depends on the type of business a company conducts, many are shifting toward open floor design plans in recent years. Open floor plans are ideal for companies that require a lot of interaction between team members, as well as between various teams.
An open floor plan paves the way for an easy flow of communication between people, allowing them to bounce ideas off each other and take advantage of a fresh set of eyes. This type of workspace design is conducive to creating an open and collaborative company culture.
Paying people the bare minimum and expecting them to work harder than necessary, for the betterment of the company, is unfair at the very least.
An employee-centric design helps show your employees, as well as any potential clients, that yours is a company that cares about its workers and doesn’t just treat them like mindless drones.
Some popular design elements in an employee-focused workspace is to include a relaxation or game room to allow your team members a break from work; this relaxation can freshen their minds and foster a culture of mutual support and collaboration between a company and its employees.
Another good design idea to improve company culture is to incorporate ergonomic design elements throughout the workspace. Not only is this great for your employees, as they will require less breaks, it’s also great for your company, because your workers will know their mental and physical health is valuable to you. Partner with Juniper Office for all office furniture solutions to redesigning your office.
Creating a company culture that’s invigorating and exciting to work for requires strategic workspace design to help support it. The two simply cannot be separated. When you combine the two well, the results have a ripple effect on both your team’s efficiency and productivity, and your company’s overall success.