Workplace culture can be as important as productivity when it comes to considering an office design. Depending on your company, business goals and the space you have to work with, some styles may work better than others – there is no universal right answer when it comes to fostering good company culture.
A proper office layout is the key to a high performance office. This means both good performance from your employees but also your business. Companies that have a great culture are highly sought after by prospective employees and can provide a competitive advantage in both hiring and retaining staff. Culture is also something that your competitors can't truly copy, so you're investing in a sustainable advantage.
Companies that foster a healthy company culture also find employees more engaged with the business, more motivated and more productive at work. Your office layout and culture can set high-performance standards without explicitly telling employees this on paper. Ensure you consider sub-cultures that naturally occur within companies in addition to an over-arching culture; for example, the finance team may have a very different sub-culture to the marketing team. Understanding sub-cultures will help you to better understand the needs of the office layout, for example, providing separate breakout areas.
No matter what business you have, there are five main office attributes that can contribute to company culture:
2. The amount of breakout areas compared to workstations or offices.
3. Access to natural daylight.
4. Design elements such as colour and furniture.
5. And finally, workplace amenities.
How you utilise these features will depend on your unique needs and business goals, but each should be considered carefully when examining the impact they will have on your employees.
If your business wants a collaborative culture, having an open office layout is generally the best way to go. Open office plans naturally allow for employees to communicate and collaborate more efficiently than with cubicles or offices. Having common areas where people can run into others in the business is another way to increase communication and can spark ideas and solutions to problems that may not have happened otherwise.
On the other hand, businesses that want their employees to focus on things like technical issues, a closed office layout may foster a better culture. Individual workspaces will give employees the privacy and control over their environment that they need in order to be productive. A closed office plan also fosters a culture of structure and order, which may work better for some than an open office plan.
The office environment is one of the most important factors in determining the culture of the workplace – more than aspects like uniforms or technology. Ensure that the workplace you are designing will accurately reflect the kind of culture you want your brand to exude. Hiring a professional designer can assist in this area as well to ensure everything is executed properly.