DATE: 03/15/2016

Work culture; it’s something everyone seems to be talking about, but no one seems quite able to define.

Put simply, it’s what it feels like to work at your company. And that feeling is directly related to the ideologies, principles and thought processes held at the top of an organization.

Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution employees have come together under organized platforms to achieve common business objectives, while getting paid for their time. Surely, these companies had work cultures too, right?

They did… But they didn’t matter that much.

Employees who felt lucky to have a job at all would clock in, work hard and clock out (no questions asked). All before going home to their families without giving much thought as to whether or not they deserved more. But today’s employees do want more – modern office furniture included – and we’re not just talking about here in San Antonio.

According to Gallup’s Global State of the Workplace study, only 13 percent of workers are actively engaged in the workplace. In other words, only one in eight workers in the 142 countries surveyed are psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions to their organizations.

The term engagement is an old-fashioned term, coined by Human Resource managers, that typically refers to an employee's willingness to exert “discretionary effort.” Unsurprisingly, employers are reportedly having a hard time attracting and retaining top talent. Why?

Today’s employees don’t want a career – they want an experience. In other words, they want to do meaningful work, with great people, in an environment that supports their contributions and ideas. Considering the mostly highly skilled and motivated workers are statistically most likely change jobs at any given time, it would be prudent to invest in culture.

As one HR manager put it, I think it’s time we throw away the word ‘retention.’ No employer can ‘retain’ anyone – we have to continuously attract our own people. In our experience, this begins with translating clearly articulated values into the physical work environment. Here are a few ways modern office furniture can support a stronger work culture:

Enhance Collaboration

Today’s most successful companies place a premium on transparency, collaboration and the sharing of ideas. Modular furnishings that can be moved at a moment’s notice for quick “brainstorming sessions,” sectional lounges with media consoles for informal meetings and open workstations are all great additions to an innovative work culture.

Support Autonomy

Thanks to modern WiFi, employees now have the option of answering emails on their smartphones, preparing reports on their laptops and hopping on video calls via laptops. Support staff autonomy by purposefully selecting modern office furniture with built-in technological capabilities. Electrical outlets, charging stations and cord organizational systems are features you should take advantage of.

Be Pro-Fun

Whether you have a large budget or not, one of the things you can do is bring fun into the workspace. This can be done in several ways including the introduction of decorative elements (ie. setting that life-sized cutout of Spurs player Tim Duncan in the breakroom; if basketball is part of your company culture), “bring your dog to work” policies and monthly employee trivia parties. You’re only limited by your creativity.

The important thing to remember – your physical work environment should reflect the values of your company culture. Ready to redesign your office?

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