The Importance of Office Cultures
Welcome to the world of Culture! Not the kind that involves far away countries or belly dances but the kind that we all need to achieve a balanced and productive working lifestyle. This is ‘Office Culture’.
Visualise shiny new office spaces, where colleagues can sit in a now socially distanced pod and get creative on glass boards, enjoy pool tables for breakouts and grass growing out of walls. No. That is not Office Culture! Office Culture is more than just the visual aspect or aesthetic. It is a way of life, the way of work life and it is what people crave, after all, most of us spend over 8 hours a day working, so we need to enjoy it and the company of the people we work with.
What Exactly Is Culture?
Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, encompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts. The word culture derives from the Latin ‘colere’, which means to ‘tend to the earth and grow’ or cultivate and nurture. To ‘tend to the earth and grow’ explains culture beautifully and by extension why it is such a necessity for a business to prosper.
Most office cultures today are a work in progress. They will naturally change over time and grow in a similar pattern with the business. Office culture should offer significant weight in the overall business strategy. It’s too significant to ignore, and shaping it is one of the most important responsibilities that leaders in business have. In this article we examine why we think that office culture is integral to what a company does…
What Is An ‘Office Culture’?
Office Culture is the character and personality of your business and presents the face of the company both internally and externally, it is an essential part of a company’s brand proposition and one that serves to attract and retain staff. Culture also portrays company ethics, missions, visions and values.
Why It Is So Important?
Growth means success but if you cannot feed your team some form of office culture, the business will struggle to grow in a positive direction. Lack of strong office culture adversely affects performance. It follows that businesses with stronger cultures outperform their competitors financially and in general are more successful (ERC, Feb 2019).
The Result of Poor Office Culture
Disengagement is when staff members pull back from the office culture and can be quite damaging to a business. While a culture of fear can ensure engagement (and sometimes even excitement) for some time, research suggests that the inevitable stress it creates will likely lead to disengagement over the long term. Engagement in work, associated with feeling valued, secure, supported, and respected, often fuels positive company growth, and is a direct reflection of a strong office culture. Studies by the Queens School of Business and the Gallup Organization, showed disengaged workers had 37% higher absenteeism, 49% more accidents, and 60% more errors in the workplace. In organisations with low employee engagement scores, they experienced 18% lower productivity, 16% lower profitability, 37% lower job growth, and 65% lower share price over time. Importantly, businesses with highly engaged employees enjoyed 100% more job applications.
Lack of Loyalty
Research from Kim Cameron and Emma Seppälä (HBR, 2015) showed that workspace stress leads to an increase of almost 50% in voluntary turnover. Employees enrol on the job market, decline promotions, or resign. The resulting costs associated with recruiting, training, lowered productivity, lost expertise, and so forth, are significant. The Centre for American Progress estimates that replacing a single employee costs approximately 20% of that employee’s salary.
For these reasons, many companies have encouraged loyalty by establishing a wide variety of perks, including ‘working from home’ and office gyms. However, these companies have failed to take into account the research of strong office culture. A Gallup poll showed that a focus on wellbeing was valued above and beyond anything else. Employees prefer workplace wellbeing to material benefits.
Creating a Strong Office Culture
Listen to Your Team
Listen to your staff and take on their needs. Office Culture sustains employee enthusiasm. Some of the things they would like may be so small and simple to implement. How about a Town Hall meeting once a month so that everyone knows about every side of the business, or maybe it’s an early finish on a Friday to thank your staff for their dedication each week. Office culture is how we work together and simple, kind gestures from an employer can go a very long way.
A Multinational Approach!
Google demonstrate fantastic office culture and the whole world knows about it! This inevitably creates a strong brand presence. Trust and flexibility is at the core of what makes Google’s Office Culture so successful. The staff have various break-out areas which entice more networking and build a sense of community and flexibility within a workspace.
Another great example of Office Culture comes from Netflix and what they offer their staff, which is ‘People Over Process’. Netflix encourages ownership through flexibility. They have a policy of brutal honesty which helps build trust between colleagues and management. These initiatives play an important role ensuring your team are being informed about change. Communication is key. People want to be part of a community rather than just a number on a long list. Travelling from home into a stark, sterile traditional office is not very appetising.
Google, Netflix and many other multinational companies understand the importance of office culture now more than ever and place morale and wellness high on the agenda for a positive workspace to allow their team to cultivate and grow. By strengthening your unique organisational identity and allowing a culture to break free and come to life, employees can be inspired to live out your values every day and deliver on your brand promise to customers in a powerful way.
Flexible Office Space
Creating Opportunities by Reducing Costs
Downsizing your physical office requirements and taking up a more flexible office space helps save on unnecessary overhead costs, freeing up your budget to build an office culture and focusing on what matters. Flexible office space at Glandore comes packaged with an abundance of services including a unique IT onsite service and many other tailored facilities. Reduced costs and the omission of the hassle and time consumed from building maintenance and repair, affords the business the opportunity to change how the business and its people work together, furthering a strong office culture.
Think about it. It would reduce overheads and allow healthier and more progressive company growth? With a serviced office space, your business can be as flexible as its needs dictate, and only pays for exactly what it needs. Maintaining and growing an office culture in tandem with your business strategy will suit your employees, contributing to overall greater company success. It is recognised that an element of remote working will and can work some of the time. Equally many employees will love the option to work from an office space which is not their kitchen and also have that opportunity to keep things flexible when they need to. Let’s face it, for any kind of positive culture, we need to switch off from work and be able to call home – home!
While so many things nowadays are cloud based and accessible only online, the flexible office space is one that is physical and present. This evidentially will increase how your brand is seen and create excellent awareness. A physical platform to connect with your peers is integral for your teams to feel inspired, creative, and motivated. This will create far more productivity amongst your staff. Your culture can transform employees into amazing ambassadors for your business if they are treated to an office culture. Your employees don’t just want a steady pay check and a pat on the back now and again, they want to come to a job where they feel part of the company – and love their work. This type of office culture can always be tailored to suit each business.
What Do Employees Want?
During Covid-19 lockdown, working remotely was enforced. We took the opportunity to ask a small number of people what they missed about being in the office. Feedback comments were similar throughout. The majority of people said they missed the comradery and everyday chit chat with their colleagues and a daily routine. Even the basic exercise they achieved each day on their commute was something missed. Recent evidence indicates depression has increased and mental health has been more challenging in recent times, fuelled for some by working remotely. Remote working certainly has a beneficial place in the business world but unfortunately it cannot replace everything nor help create a meaningful office culture. Remember, you want your employees to work in a happy environment. If they are happy they will become more productive and work faster. This will give your business the competitive edge in its respective industry to sustain and increase growth. This is the importance of a strong office culture.
Glandore has offices located in Dublin, Belfast, and Cork, allowing companies to create their own individual ‘Culture Hubs’ within a fully managed, design led and serviced space, offering flexibility and significant cost savings compared to the traditional office space. Glandore can offer access to a physical space that can be tailored to suit individual needs, with access to Clubrooms, Meeting Rooms and Event Space along with an experienced Operations and IT team on hand to help and support in anyway required. One of the most important things that Glandore offers is the ‘Network’, a community of businesses within the spaces creating great community spirit through cross pollinating office cultures!
Intangible benefits of taking space with Glandore is the offering of collaboration, growth and support within its walls. Glandore can help connect a wide and varied community of businesspeople and support in connecting reputable HR companies, Legal organisations and many more. We understand the value of networking, connecting, sharing experiences and most of all your office culture.
Business Wellbeing comes from one place, and one place only — a positive and strong office culture.