Creating the right office culture

September 12, 2017

When you walk into a home, you instantly get a feel for the people who live there. What they like or don’t like, what’s important to them and even how they connect with each other can be revealed through their choice of furniture, wall colors, artwork displays and the overall layout of a room.

The same is true of business environments.

The way a workplace is designed can impact employee productivity, client interactions, office communications, talent recruitment and even staff health. Savvy commercial real estate professionals keep these factors in mind, designing their buildings to suit a certain type of tenant or advising clients on the ways their office components affect their office culture.

A primary consideration in setting the tone for a successful office is layout. Most modern office spaces boast flexibility, allowing for technological changes, shifting workforce needs and greater staff cooperation. By remaining fluid and nimble, a space can improve its position in the market and attract a greater range of tenant businesses.

Once specific tenant needs are identified, an office layout can be adjusted to foster the desired culture and environment. For instance, open floorplans with informal meeting areas and shared work spaces lend themselves to a more collaborative, creative business. On the other hand, closed floorplans with private meeting rooms and defined work stations are ideal for complex, formal businesses such as legal or investment firm offices.

Beyond the floorplan, the decor of an office can speak volumes about the work happening within its walls. The colors, materials and style displayed within a business space can create a greater brand experience that shows staff members, visitors and clients that a company is in tune with their needs.

Color, for example, is key to the productivity, mood and overall energy levels of employees. Wall Street Journal affiliate MarketWatch recently reported that bright colors like red can foster excitement and build energy, often helping people spark new ideas. On the other side of the spectrum, green and lighter blues can help increase focus while improving relaxation among office occupants.

The fabrics and furnishings in an office can also reveal important information about company culture. Soft spaces that encourage casual use can communicate a focus on staff and client comfort, while clean, minimalistic lines may emphasize work product and a more refined approach to business relationships.

In all cases, decor should be memorable and inspiring, immersing visitors and staff alike in an environment that highlights office values. For example, wall hangings that are representative of your work and staff or reflective of brand colors and aesthetics can reinforce pride in the organization and loyalty to the team. More streamlined or nature-inspired elements, on the other hand, can lend a sense of calm and peace to the space.

In addition to creating the right office culture, the space a business inhabits can also have an impact on staff and client wellbeing. People need access to daylight as well as opportunities to relate to nature, as these elements provide sensory variability and can be energizing. Global architecture and design firm HOK recommends that businesses find ways to maximize beautiful sightlines, such as utilizing glass partitions rather than interior walls and locating shared spaces near the best views.

Some businesses extend their focus on wellness and work-life balance to provide additional activity options for employees. Leveraging the amenities as recruitment tools as well as staff benefits, these offices may offer a walking path near the building, a designated yoga or workout room, ping pong or pool tables, video games, bar areas, stocked kitchens and more. In these cases, the activities can often foster greater team building, stronger staff relationships and a more dedicated, loyal workforce.

In the end, there is no right or wrong way to design a workspace. However, there is no denying that the office layout, decor and wellness elements should clearly reflect the substance and style of your business. Contact the professionals at Intelica Commercial Real Estate if you’d like to learn more about the changes you can make to support the culture of your business.