Workplace culture is “the hottest topic business today,” and for good reason. For starters, keeping your employees happy at work makes them more creative and more productive. The American Psychological Association has found that workplace stress has cost the economy over $500 billion.
And while 89% of managers think that their employees leave their jobs for better pay, in reality 80-90% of employees say that they are really leaving “for reasons other than money.” So if you’re not worrying about the culture of your business, perhaps you should be.
Learn from example
Multinational conglomerates like Adobe, Google and Twitter have got the right idea. Adobe benefits from a trusting culture “that promotes risk taking without fear of penalty”. Google is well known for offering its employees fantastic perks at the office, like access to onsite basketball courts, gyms, and free meals.
Employees at Twitter also feel the benefits of perks like free food and yoga classes, but they say they also love their co-workers and feel like the company they work for “is doing something that matters in the world.”
It’s time to sweat the small stuff
Of course, not everyone can afford to put free meals and a basketball court on the company card, no matter how much they value their workers. But don’t worry. There are still plenty of little things that you can do to keep your workforce happy and focused. If you’ve already shunned cubicles and spent time team building to a high degree, don’t write this article off just yet.
Here’s a list of the things you might not think are damaging your business’s culture, so you can make sure you have all your bases covered.
1. Slow internet
A recent poll conducted in Australia, funded by Google, has shown that slow internet is the most frustrating thing about “employer provided digital technologies.” So make sure your internet speeds are up to scratch, otherwise “you can expect employee complaints to rise and morale to drop.”
2. Wrong paint job
According to Forbes, colour has a big effect on human emotion. If you want your team to tap into their creativity you might try adding a little green to your interior decor, because research has shown that the colour green promotes “creative thought.”
Colours can even influence how people perceive temperature, with cooler colours like blue and light purple making people think the room is colder than it really is, while warm colours like orange and red can make people think it’s warmer. But steer clear of covering your office walls in red, because apparently it “reduces analytical thinking.”
3. Dodgy Kitchen
As previously mentioned, plenty of the world’s biggest businesses have invested in somewhat elaborate office architecture as a way to improve their company culture. Kitchens are important to home and office culture, encouraging socialising, as long as the room is an attractive space.
As the room in which all the vital supplies of caffeinated beverages are housed and prepared, the kitchen is a sacred space, and deserves to be treated as such! After all, a dirty kitchen can house all kinds of harmful bacteria, so at the very least, your should do you best to make sure your office kitchen is clean.
3. Not enough downtime
A recent study published in ‘Cognition’ has shown that “prolonged attention to a single task actually hinders performance.” So it’s important to encourage your workforce to take a few regular breaks, because staying on task for hours on end isn’t actually beneficial to their productivity.
Studies have also shown that “a moderate level of cardio activity can boost creativity and productivity for two hours afterward,” so try not to let your staff work through their lunch (unless there’s an emergency or looming deadline).
Plenty of workplace cultures encourage that sort of behaviour, but they don’t realise that it probably won’t pay off in the long run. Instead, you might consider encouraging them to go outside and enjoy the summer sunshine, so that they come back to work relaxed, focused and raring to go.
If you do not have space in your current facility it could even be worth moving your office to a larger space where break out areas are available – serviced offices can be a great solution to this as many offer options that are flexible and avoid start up costs.
4. Not enough laughs
“Humor is a great antidote to excessive stress build-up,” and sharing a laugh with someone helps promote interpersonal bonding. The next time you see your employees ‘goofing off’, remember that a small break and a quick laugh can improve someone’s outlook on their whole day.
Obviously it’s important that your employees don’t just joke around all day, but it’s far better to have employees who laugh with each other on occasion than those who argue.
5. Not enough trust
Many employees will appreciate being shown a certain level of trust with regards to the company that they work for. After all, “trust is truly the foundation of a great company culture” and “transparency in the workplace can help make your workforce more unified and goal-oriented.”
However there is such a thing as too much transparency. If you share information with your staff without the proper context, or in some cases, the appropriate legal knowledge, you might do more harm than good.
The ideal level of transparency, especially in smaller businesses, merely involves “being honest about failings and direct about what you want from your employees, colleagues and business partners.”