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Office culture is the bread and butter, heart and soul, solid foundation of a business. It’s what motivates your employees, demonstrates your company’s values to your clients and the public, and essentially glues your entire business together …

… and without the super glue, your business may very well fall apart.

Why is office culture important?

Office culture determines the morals, principals and over all ‘feeling’ surrounding a business. By honing in on the behavioural norms and spirit within your office, you will help to build stronger relationships between co-workers and a positive, more stimulated, work environment.

A good office cultures also makes for happier, healthier staff members. When your employees are happy in their job and feel a valued part of the team, they tend to show greater loyalty to their employers and want to help the business achieve.

As you can see, it is essential to nourish your office culture for the overall success of your business and a consistent production of good quality work.

So then, why is it most companies have got their office culture all wrong ?

Whether you’re the big boss, a team manager or simply in charge of the new intern, it’s a vital part in the role of any work superior to stimulate their staff by creating a good work environment. But sadly, many leaders steer this essential component of their job horribly astray, if even at all.

Many people think putting a ping-pong table in the back of their office will tick off the office culture box nicely. In fact, a majority of businesses fixate their office culture around bonuses and incentives, something the job description would have labelled the “perks” of the role. But unfortunately that doesn’t quite cut it. You see, office culture is so much more than that!

I like to think of the culture of a business as the personality of an individual -something that is embedded into every aspect of that person and revealed time and time again. For instance, if a person makes a kind gesture to you once a month, but they are irritable, rude and aggressive the rest of the time, you’re not likely to view that person in a positive way and their occasional bouts of kindness will be redundant. Likewise, office culture needs to be continual and everlasting to make an impact. It has to be ingrained into your everyday tasks and procedures, otherwise it is – yup, you got it – redundant.

While, yes, the annual office Ping-Pong tournament is fun (trust us – it is!) and, yes, once a month Friday beers is cool, what about the other 38 hours in the week when your staff are miserable at their desks?

What makes a great office culture?

Firstly, in order to for you, your employees and your clients to understand the reasoning behind your new awesome office culture, you need to define the core values within your company. Once you have outlined your core values, it is easier to envisage what you’re office culture should be like and embed these into your daily work and rituals.

Have a think about the layout of your office. If you are a creative business and you hire people for their enthusiastic and collaborative abilities, why would you inhibit them to working in a private office cubical? Instead, you could allow your employees to engage with one another, get up and walk around and bounce ideas off one another.

While some creative professionals thrive tremendously in a lively, buzzing, animated atmosphere, other creatives may not concentrate so well with dub-step background music, such as a creative writer. You should recognise the need for optimal working conditions for the individual, which brings us on to the next point …

Never be afraid to ask your staff the question “what do you want?” Having weekly meetings with your team to discuss matters of the office, what’s new, embracing their outside lives and celebrating each others’ successes will help to build up good team spirit.

It is also important to give your staff the opportunity to discuss matters with you individually, reflect on the work place and have their own personal input. This will ensure they feel part of the team, know they are well valued and a great way to communicate to your employees that you care about them. Little things like understanding, support and appreciation all help to make a winning culture, and always be open to culture adaptations as the company grows.

While you want your workers to be focused on their job, there is such thing as being over-worked. A work-life balance is imperative to keeping your staff happy, healthy and performing well in their job. So if one of your company values is the good wellbeing of your team, you could offer your staff gym memberships, weekly massages to help distress or even dedicate a room for meditation and ‘time-out’.

Achieving a winning culture is about building something great, but also making it last the year through. If you would like more information on how to make your office culture great, please contact us for more advice today!

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