Your company culture has a huge effect on your bottom line. Studies show that happy employees are more productive, stay longer at their jobs, and help the companies they work for outperform the competition. There are many obvious ways to improve your culture, like providing higher pay and better benefits. But there are also some not-so-obvious, and not-so-expensive, ways. This article explores four ways to improve your company culture through better design.
Design expert David Craig suggests that visibility within companies and teams creates shared experiences, which are crucial for a strong culture.
- Put in glass doors and walls.
- Provide common work areas, like cafes, atriums, and community work tables.
- Place project boards in places where everyone can see them and learn from one another’s ideas.
While visibility is important, so are boundaries. Craig notes that boundaries help employees perceive themselves as members of a team.
- Group desks by department.
- Have different colors of furniture for different teams.
- Use open shelving or low screens to delineate teams without sequestering them.
Make your office alive
We mean this quite literally. Your employees shouldn’t be the only living creatures in your office.
- Decorate with plants. Research shows this increases productivity by 15%.
- Let your employees bring their dogs to work. This lowers stress, increases job satisfaction, and promotes a positive perception of the company.
Brand your space
When people walk through your door, they shouldn’t feel like they’re in any old office. They should know instantly what your company is all about.
- Paint your walls in a color scheme that reflects your brand.
- Select objects and wall art that foster the culture you want to cultivate.
- Make design choices consistent with who you are. For example, if you’re a tech company, incorporate technology into your design. (Learn one way TripAdvisor does this.)
Look around your office. Does it capture your culture, or the culture you want to develop? Culture isn’t something you can dictate — it emerges from what people do and how they do it. What you can do is can steer your culture in the right direction through design choices that foster positive attitudes and encourage productive behaviors.