How workplace design can effect office values and company culture

Posted on 9th February 2018 by CMI Workplace

Defined as “the operating philosophies or principles that guide an organisation’s internal conduct as well as its relationship with its customers, partners and shareholders”, a company’s core or office values form an integral part of its overarching organisational culture.

A company’s culture is unique and individual to each company. Usually led by the company’s management team or a way of operating that develops over time from the cumulative traits of the people that the company employs, the company culture embraces the values that everyone within the business buys into.

Employees today place a much greater emphasis on working for organisations where they can align themselves with the culture and office values of that business.

Creating an engaged and productive workforce

Studies have shown that a positive company culture and alignment of employees with office values results in a more engaged and productive workforce. It also ensures that organisations not only attract top talent but are able to retain that talent for longer – building a strong workforce that is aligned and working towards common goals and aspirations.

The role of workplace design

Workplace design is integral to the above. Designing a workplace that reflects the company’s culture is essential. When designing an office space, we take the culture of the organisation very seriously, priding ourselves on creating a space that truly reflects the DNA of our client’s organisation. This is because we recognise that the design and layout of the workplace sends both overt and subtle cues to employees about the culture and office values of the organisation within which they work. The design of the workplace should promote and encourage the company’s culture and values, accentuating them and bringing them to life through the physical environment in which employees work every day. So, if the company places emphasis on employee engagement and empowerment, then creating an open, flexible office space will enhance that culture and values and even work harder to further improve collaboration and productivity, which in turn will have a positive impact on the company’s overall performance and bottom line.

When designing a workplace to match office values and company culture, it’s important to take two key factors into considering: layout and design.

The office layout refers to how the physical office space flows. By understanding the values and company culture of your organisation, you can ensure that your office layout is planned to enhance these factors. If your culture and office values are based on communication and collaboration, ensuring that the layout provides plenty of open spaces to encourage and facilitate informal meetings and sparking collaboration and creativity will feed into and further enhance these values and culture.

The design of the office space is just as important in enhancing your company culture and office values. Designing an office environment that reflects your company culture and values will impact on the overall mood of your employees. The use of design elements such as colour, space and brand all come together to create a cohesive office environment that inspires, excites, and unites your employees. The end result is a productive and engaged workforce operating in a workspace that is conducive to delivering the task at hand as well as positively influencing the mood of your employees.

Demonstrating a commitment to living your values

Ensuring that your office values and culture are inherently designed into your office environment helps to reduce employee churn whilst at the same time attract and retain top talent. Employees know they have a choice over where they work and are searching to work for organisations that share their own personal and/or professional values. Providing a physical office environment that truly reflects your company’s office values and culture is one way of ensuring that your company is demonstrating its commitment to living its values.

Inspiring culture change through office design

Similarly, you can use your office design to facilitate and cement a change in your company culture and office values. If, for example, you are choosing to move from a control-based culture to more of an empowered and flexible culture then re-designing your office space can go a long way to facilitate this change. Your company may be considering introducing activity based or smart working practices as a way of supporting this culture change and transition. The layout and design can move from rigid, desk-based environment to a much more flexible, interactive layout, filled with more relaxed, collaborative spaces.

To summarise

So, in summary, office design is an essential factor to consider when it comes to culture and values within the workplace. Done right, it can have a positive impact on bringing your office values and corporate culture to life and creating an engaged and productive workforce, who wholeheartedly embrace and support your company’s culture and office values. The end result will undoubtedly be an improvement to your company’s business performance and bottom line.

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