Employees will work eight hours a day in their office for five days a week, typically; this is a great portion of their life being spent in a certain workspace with a certain group of people. As a result, an office will organically create its own culture as people with different backgrounds, values, and work ethics dwell in the same company and in the same environment.
If a business is just starting up, it’s important that its culture is carefully designed and guided to benefit all parties included. For businesses already established, it’s even more crucial to begin evaluating and adjusting the already present culture to benefit the business rather than hinder it. The culture we experience in our free time determines everything we do – how we create, how we manage problems, and how we address tasks. An office is no different. For employees to produce at a fast pace, solve problems efficiently, collaborate well, and address the public in a positive light, the culture must encourage the proper traits.
Here is how to determine what office culture fits your business, and how it can boost productivity, morale, and profits.
1. Determine Your Business Type
When beginning this task, you must first evaluate your field, as the culture for each type of business is diverse. Encouraging a culture which better suited for a different business can end up hindering your production rather than help it.
Take a moment and think about the image other companies project to the public. If you were to apply for a job in a law firm, you would come dressed in a suit, presenting yourself professionally to match the professionalism of the business. However, if you apply for a job in a local video game store, you may feel more comfortable attending in casual clothes in your old tennis shoes; dressing simply would be acceptable because the business projects a relaxed atmosphere.
Do you run a “ma and pa,” themed shop selling pastries or other food? Do you run a web design business focused on coding and such? Do you run a graphic design company that specializes in unique and original styles? Decide on the sort of image your business currently projects, or the image many companies in your field project. Then you can decide on the culture which would best suit your office for the greatest results.
2. Determine What Hinders Your Business the Most
If you’ve worked in an office before, then you’ve no doubt encountered a coworker who just “rubbed you wrong.” Perhaps they didn’t reply to emails or messages promptly, instead forcing you to wait hours, if not days, for a response. Perhaps they made a verbal agreement to handle a task and then put it off until it was too late, leaving the repercussions to you. Perhaps they handled their tasks out of order, making the collaboration processes difficult if not impossible for you and other workers.
To determine what traits are beneficial to your business — therefore deciding on the best culture — you must first know what traits to avoid. Is a lack of communication slowing down production? Is an employee’s unwillingness to collaborate making the products low quality? Evaluate these current or possible issues and think of how they can be reversed. In doing this, you can encourage an office culture which values prompt communication to boost production, reliability to create trust among employees and boosting collaboration, or a strong work ethic to elevate the quality of your services or products.
Now that you have decided what you don’t want, you can focus on what you do want.
3. Determine the Traits Most Necessary to Your Business
Different businesses require different specialties and strengths. For a business which manages others’ funds or important data, having an office system which is focused, efficient, and nearly automated is an important strength. For an artistic business in the entertainment field, originality and creativity is a crucial strength. These strengths would not compliment the opposite style of business, so determine what traits would be most necessary for your office.
For example, in an artistic business, a great deal of collaboration may be needed to produce the most original products or services. In order to achieve this, it’s important for employees to feel comfortable and secure in voicing their opinions and trying out new techniques. It’s common for bosses or even other employees to act rash and angry if they are presented with bad news or a form of failure, but what does this encourage? It encourages employees to keep their mouth shut – who wants to be yelled at for an idea that is generally good but undeveloped? In a creative industry, the ability to freely discuss themes and ideas is key. By regarding each other with patience and an open mind, it encourages all the workers involved to speak up and try new things – which could lead to a unique and profitable creation.
However, in more technical fields where a single process is followed and repeated, it’s important to be strict. Technical businesses that deal with valuable information or resources hanging in the balance may be unable to afford a creative mistake that leads to great loss. The strength in this business would tip towards strong communication, as technical tasks require information to be transmitted regularly and efficiently. The office culture which would best benefit this style of business should encourage employees to communicate promptly to ensure information is up-to-date, rather than discovering a crisis once it has already unfolded. Additionally, an employee’s ability to work independently and solve immediate problems is important to avoid disaster.
Evaluate your business and what it needs most to run efficiently; then encourage these traits in your employees.
Rather than allowing the organic creation of an office culture to hinder your business, or bring it to a chaotic stop, evaluate what traits should be encouraged. Then you can create an office culture which boosts the success of the employees and the business as a whole.