Office space should be thought of as a vehicle of silent communication for organizational culture. If you want to create a winning company culture, you need to ensure your office environment promotes the core values of the business.
From ping pong tables doubling as conference tables to exposed brick walls and cold brew on tap, there are a lot of different ways start up office spaces can give off the fun and casual wok environment vibe. And there is no denying that these cool office perks are contributing to the rising percentage of the modern day workforce that find the possibility of working for a startup appealing.
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These office environments and perks contribute to many startups ‘work hard play hard’ mentality, but they can pose as a big distractor. And there are definitely businesses that should be focused on trying to secure customers and establish themselves in their industry and less on pinball high scores. For those startups who are trying tirelessly to get off the ground with the limited runway they have left, there are smarter investments than office décor.
You do not need to have any of these things to be considered a startup. However, the modern workforce is constantly evolving, and now that millennials make up the majority of the workforce, it is time to think about how to continue to enable the most success for your business. Company culture drives business success, and an office environment is a major influence on culture. Here is my advice to make sure your office space is a positive contributor to your business culture and attracting top talent to your team.
- Tear Down Walls & Break Down Barriers
It is important to keep up with business norms, which means eliminating the claustrophobic cubicles and transitioning to an open floor layout with desks and seating that encourages communication and cross-functional collaboration. Creating an open office environment instead of confining people into their cubicles inherently promotes more communication and team collaboration. This office layout also makes it easier to get to know your coworkers and appreciate all of the hard work everyone is contributing to the success of the startup.
When you build teams of great people and work in an environment that promotes team work and cross functional collaboration, not only will every employee enjoy coming into the office each day, but it will also lead to more innovation for your business. An open office environment helps to reinforce a positive and enjoyable culture. And culture doesn’t just help attract amazing people; it amplifies their abilities and enables them to do their best work.
- Keep The Kitchen Stocked
Startup teams are often stretched thin, and each member has a lot of work and a lot of responsibility on their plate. While this can be very exciting and gives everyone ample opportunity to make a large impact on the business, it also almost always mean longer hours. Startups like to change the rules that most businesses used to go by, and eliminating the standard 9-5 workday is one of them.
When your team is getting into the office earlier and staying later, that gives you even more of a reason to make the work environment positive and enjoyable. And having a kitchen full of drinks and snacks is definitely a plus for those long days. I don’t think it is necessary to provide every meal for your employees, since all startups are budget conscientious. That being said, ordering the team lunch after a long week every once in a while is a great way to show gratitude and appreciation toward your employees.
- Display The Company Core Values
Even after you ditch the cubicles for a more open work environment, your office space can still look boring and dull. Decorating your office does not have to be a big investment by any means. Corkboards, desk plants, wall decals and a few framed pictures are low cost ideas that can bring some life to the office.
Decorating your space is a great opportunity to showcase the organizations brand and core values. Paint a few walls the colors of your company logo. Display your company values in a creative way. Not only does it energize the space, but it will also serve as a great reminder to every member of the team and help attract new talent. Branded office décor can help the company’s mission resonate with the team as well as help them keep it top of mind throughout the work day.
- Turn Individual Offices Into Meeting Rooms
Get rid of hierarchy in your seating arrangement. Get everyone on same playing field and make higher members of the team more approachable. When the leadership sits in the same space as the rest of the team, they are able to clearly see how the internal team interacts with other team members, clients, and visitors. This also gives them a chance to point out positives and negatives aspects of the business that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.
Individual offices should double as meeting rooms and collaborative spaces. This way, the team can utilize the space for client meetings or conference calls. And people can also choose to go to use meeting rooms as a quiet space, if they would like to concentrate on individual work without being disturbed.
- The Work Commute Matters
A reverse commute is never ideal. An office location can make or break a candidate’s decision to take the job. A good office location makes your organization seem more relevant and more attractive to any potential candidate or client. Having your office located in the city surrounded by other startups and within a community will naturally bring more people into your office and automatically increases your brand awareness and greater recognition and leadership within your community.
There is something to be said about an office space that promotes cross-functional team collaboration rather than cubicles that cause isolation and inhibit employees from thinking outside of the box (quite literally). Make sure your office is not deterring new business or potential employees because even in this technologically advanced world, human bias still plays a part in decision-making. And people cannot help but judge a book by its cover and a business by their office space and brand.
So, the next time you venture down the street into your local FedEx Office store to pick up more pens and post-its, consider ordering a large custom poster to display your company’s core values on an office wall. Updating and improving your office environment will drive success for your business.