Creating a Workplace that reflects your Vision – Part 3

Inspiration Series Nº 3


Imagine having a business that reflects the culture of your team, and enhances all of you best qualities, and where working together is easy and enjoyable.

As I mentioned a previously, I love working with small business.  Each company is sort of like an extended family (and often family-owned), with management and staff close to the business and clients in a “grass roots” type of way.  There’s no vast and far-flung entity with 100’s or 1000’s of staff that it becomes hard to keep in mind this is a group of people working towards a common goal.

So bearing that in mind, the flip side of defining your Vision (your aims as a business), is that along the way you have also grown into an intimate community of people working together.

Your team has a way of living, working, collaborating, and celebrating.  Or perhaps that’s what you want to improve and transform.

You are probably already aware of all the positive characteristics of your business culture, and have just not taken the time to consider how your unique attributes can be transformed into workplace assets for your clients and staff.

Everyone knows that we spend half our waking hours at Work, and the environment you work in should be is equally as important as the value we place on how we feel at home.  Let’s acknowledge this together now.

Now it kills me to see your brilliant people with amazing skills and talents desperately trying to find a place they can feel at home while at work.  If you are like me you’ll see how easily you can now make a difference right now.

The process of Creating a great Workplace is more than just chance.

Employers who invest in their workplace for staff frequently realise improvements in productivity.  Studies at the University of Exeter lead by researcher by Dr Craig Knight have found that organisations can benefit from a professionally planned and designed workplace, enriched with consideration for artwork, plants and other elements that appeal to the core of our being.  Further allowing your staff to have input into the process provided even greater benefits.

Dr Knight has concluded that “When people feel uncomfortable in their surroundings they are less engaged – not only with the space but also with what they do in it.  If they can have some control, that all changes and people report being happier at work, identifying more with their employer, and are more efficient when doing their jobs”.

These studies have reported many distinct benefits:

  • Productivity improvements by over 15%, and in some cases up to 32%
  • Job satisfaction up by up to 9%
  • Wellbeing increases by 40%

This study also found significant positive impact on information management tasks, time taken to complete tasks, the accuracy of the work completed, and organisation identification.

Adding some Personality into the mix.

Wouldn’t you agree that encouraging opportunities for your staff to express their personality at an individual level and also as a group will enrich your workplace significantly?  You can foster a sense of ownership;  for your staff to live and work in a place they are proud of.

  1. Identify the culture of your office.  Is it relaxed and informal?  Are your staff encouraged to be creative (in dress, in attitude, in choice of work environment…..)?  Do you encourage casual Friday dress?  Are family members welcome to visit?  Is healthy-living, exercise & eating actively encouraged (I’ve witnessed how passionate & active business owners can transform staff attitudes on this level)?
  2. Encourage staff to add their own personal touch to workspace and/or immediate work area (ie. choice of a selection of plants & artwork, personal elements at the desk).
  3. When choosing workstations, consider design options with more flexibility.  For example mobile storage, movable dividers / screens, monitor arms & accessories that can be changed by the staff to suit the way they work.  Look for options that provide pin-able surfaces for photos, shelves for personal objects (some even come with vases for flowers!).  Consider lockable storage for handbags & shoes.
  4. Consider Quiet Space that can be used for mediation, yoga or prayer.
  5. Consider introducing shared spaces:
  • Spaces where people can be should be free to experiment and get creative in the course of their work
  • Breakout spaces imbibed with a relaxing atmosphere, and different choices of seating (lounge seats, cafe style), and smaller tables that allow for small groups or combined for a larger social gathering.
  • Do you have an informal area large enough for company gatherings (not the boardroom).  Introduce social get-togethers such as a morning tea, birthday celebrations, etc.  
  • Space to celebrate your successes & wins.
  • Alternative places to work (it doesn’t have to be enclosed room, just a place away from usual trappings of the desk, email, phone…)  
  • Noticeboards or blackboard walls where staff can express themselves (i.e. paint a wall in blackboard paint for staff to add humorous sketches, or fill with crossword puzzle to encourage staff interaction)