In 2014, workplace culture should be treated like any other key performance indicators, along with turnover, customer engagement, brand awareness, or click-through rates. Workplace culture can make a business sink or swim; it is, at the same time, its character and its personality, comprising the values, traditions, beliefs, principles, interactions, behaviors, attitudes, and everything else a company stands for.
In order for a business to make financial sense, it must be able to attract and retain talent, which, after all, determines overall work performance and productivity. And while recruiters still consider competence, skills, team-spirit, critical thinking, and other criteria when making new hires, one aspect in particular has risen to the top of their corporate agenda: being a cultural fit.
Oftentimes, the successes and failures of a new company hinge on how well its employees identify themselves with the company’s culture – an issue of compatibility more than skillset or experience. But culture is not limited to employees’ personality, everything the workplace comprises of, whether it’s people or the space they work in, must show consistency and cohesion with the organizational baseline. Here are five ways to set up a workspace that provides a sense of identity for your employees and generates commitment to your company’s mission and goals:
1. Follow the need. As workers are expected to be more versatile and innovative, so is the furniture they use in the space they work. Desks are more than just bland surfaces where they can stack documents, and chairs are more than just places to sit. Although you may be tempted to consider traditional furnishing solutions as safer and more cost-effective in the long run, it’s imperative to furnish the work space in accordance with employees’ needs. For instance, if some of them work on laptops, consider introducing standing desks or adjustable workstations to encourage movement and prevent chronic pain. For those who spend hours on end sitting, ergonomic desk chairs with lumbar support and footrest is an absolute must to promote good posture and alleviate back pain.
2. Keep it flexible. Space is one of the greatest issues of the modern workspace, but that doesn’t mean you should cramp your workers in airless, overly furnished spaces where they can barely breathe. Oftentimes, with the right layout, furnishings, and accessories, even small-sized offices can be turned into multi-functional spaces that convey creativity don’t cause workers to feel cramped. You may not have much space to work with, but you can compensate with bold design choices, daring wall colors, smart storage ideas, multi-purpose seating solutions, and other accessories that will help you get the most from your workspace.
3. Let there be light. The quality of lighting in the workplace can have a tremendous impact on workers’ performance and productivity. Adequate lighting decreases the risk of errors by up to 60%, while also reducing the likelihood of eye strain, headaches, neck pain, or nausea. Lighting increases the level of concentration and accuracy in work, ensures better visibility and increased work performance while reducing the risk of occupational accidents and health disorders. Consider installing lighting solutions, general & uniform, localized, or local – adequate to the type of work performed.
4. Keep it clean and tidy. A clean office is a successful office: it makes employees more productive, more motivated, happier, and in a better mood. On the other hand, the sight of document piles can not only stress the owner of the cluttered desk, but it can also impact the performance and stress levels of his co-workers, research shows. To encourage workers to keep their workstations clean and tidy, consider introducing smart storage solutions (file cabinets, cardboard boxes, etc.) and develop effective systems to keep useless stuff out of the way.
5. Customize, customize, customize. Your employees spend more than 40 hours per week in the office, so it stands to reason that they should at least be comfortable and relaxed while working. The workspace and the manner in which it is organized and decorated can significantly impact the way workers perform their duties and also clients’ attitude towards your business. Allowing employees to have control over their workstation ensures they are happier, more satisfied, healthier, more creative, and ultimately more motivated to succeed. Decorative items, greenery, and personal items such as family photos are simple ways to encourage people to express their personality and make the space they work in their own.
All these ideas can favorably impact the performance of your workers and the organization as a whole. It’s incredible how well-designed furnishings, good lighting, and smart accessories can go such a long way towards creating an enjoyable and inspiring workspace that support employees’ well-being and align with your company’s goals. Work together with a specialized office furniture supplier to set up a well-furnished, de-cluttered, properly lighted, and organized office setting that will remind people what your organization is all about, reinforcing its mission, objectives, and corporate culture.
Lynne Lemieux, Founder and President of Alliance Interiors Inc., has devoted more than 20 years of experience developing and implementing growth opportunities for some of Canada's leading office furniture dealers. Her ability to provide clients with inspiring and versatile interior solutions for both business and home office environments has garnered her title of Aboriginal Business Woman of the Year in the city of Toronto for 2012. In her spare time, Lynne takes an active interest in politics, public speaking, and philanthropy, but also enjoys gardening, interior decorating, cooking, yoga, and traveling.