Day-to-day influences like your office space can affect how employees interact, what they do and if they have common interests and behaviors—all of which add up to company culture, Kevin Meissner tells GlobeSt.com.
GlobeSt.com: In what ways does a company’s office space affect its culture?
Meissner: Company culture may not be easy to define, but you know it when you feel it. It’s a result of the blending of abstract and concrete factors, including day-to-day influences like your office space. These elements of a company impact both employees and clients on levels ranging from the subliminal to the most immediate decision-making considerations.
GlobeSt.com: What elements must office space possess in order to positively influence a company’s culture?
Meissner: Office space can positively influence company culture by encouraging behavior, work habits and attitudes that result in productivity; enabling workers to interact and support one another and informing the ways in which the company culture expects that collaboration to occur; establishing the company’s chosen atmosphere or vibe, be it casual and relaxed or more conventionally hierarchical; and embodying and conveying the values and ongoing principles of the company.
GlobeSt.com: What steps should companies take to determine their culture before committing to new office space?
Meissner: I strongly suggest all companies go through a workplace strategy session as their first step. Workplace strategy will focus on how to use the space more efficiently and effectively. This will help a company develop solutions that link business strategy to workplace initiatives.
GlobeSt.com: What else should our readers know about this topic?
Meissner: How do you identify your company culture? If you are having trouble answering this question, the easiest way to assess the company culture is to look around and observe. How are employees interacting? What do they do? Do they have common behaviors and interests? Another way to assess company culture is to listen. Listen to your employees, your clients, your vendors, your suppliers. Look to see what’s written online about your company. These will also give you clues as to what your company’s culture really is.