Workplace Trends and Corporate Culture

Part
01
of two
Part
01

Workplace and Corporate Culture

The physical workspace of an organization has significant impact on overall corporate culture, as well as the productivity of the company and success of the organization itself. Experts note how corporate and employee success is based on three related factors the physical environment, the corporate culture (as supported by the environment), and the feelings and beliefs of the employees (based on their treatment by colleagues, and the spaces and cultures in which they work). Each of these factors work together to make an organization more (or less) successful.

ENVIRONMENT & CULTURE IMPACT BUSINESS OBJECTIVES & SUCCESS

  • Forbes highlights how positive workplace culture can significantly affect an organization’s overall success, by improving teamwork, raising employee morale, increasing efficiencies and productivity levels, and improving worker retention. The article also details how employee satisfaction levels are improved, work performance is improved, and effective collaboration increases.
  • In fact, experts at Gallup and HR-Acuity report that organizations with strong company cultures and highly engaged employees see 17% more productivity than organizations with negative company cultures. The company culture in this case includes the physical workspace in which employees perform their duties.
  • Additionally, when employees are highly-engaged (due to a strong company culture that includes the physical workspace), they earn 21% more profit for their employers a huge gain! The same report notes that employees who feel happy at work (while at work or thinking about work) show “increases [in] creativity, innovation, and motivation, thus boosting productivity.”
  • Most executive and average workers polled by Deloitte identified “motivated and engaged employees” as the prime factor contributing to an organization’s success. Since the research shows that a positive culture and an environment supporting that culture are keys to encouraging motivation and engagement among the workforce.
  • Organizations with strong company culture (that permeates even the visible part of the environment the workspace itself) see increases in employee retention and loyalty, see heightened employee productivity and creativity, see higher quality work for their clients, often see improvements to their reputations/images, and see positive increases in their bottom lines.
  • Notably, organizations named as “Great Places to Work” (which includes in-depth evaluations of corporate culture and workspace usage) outperformed their stock market counterparts by 115.6%.
  • Deloitte’s research showed that a full 94% of executives and 88% of employee feel that corporate culture is important to an organization’s success. To create positive culture, organizations should: [1] establish clear organizational goals that permeate the business at all levels; [2] foster communication and collaboration through openness in manner and space; [3] create an environment inclusive and respectful of all persons; and [4] outline clear goals and goal-rewards for employee work performance. Each of these elements can crossover into both culture and the physical workspace.

ENVIRONMENT & CULTURE IMPACT EMPLOYEES

  • According to expert and author Jacob Morgan, three key points make up any employee’s workplace experience: “technology, culture, and the physical space.” The environment (physical space) encompasses a wide array of things, including not only the building and set up of the space, but also the types of equipment and where they are placed, and even the art or plants decorating the space.
  • The aspect of physical space “comprises 30% of the employee experience.”
  • A whopping 60% of US businesses saw “improvements in employee satisfaction and engagement” after they implemented “healthy building features” into their workplace environment. These features include air quality testing/improvements, indoor greenery/plants, areas dedicated as employee-wellness rooms, and options for individual employees like sit-stand desks.
  • One recent study showed that nearly all (90%) of global employees “are less than satisfied with their work environments.” This dissatisfaction in environment leads to unhappier employees, and therefore, a more negatively-skewed corporate culture.
  • Research shows that employees want to work in environments that are energizing and inspiring, and that employees working in these environments “feel more creative, engaged, and connected to the company.”
  • Notably, employees working in cultures that stigmatize “leaving early” (or even on time) are less productive and unhealthier than employees in cultures that support work-life balance, reports Great Place to Work. Fear of being stigmatized (or punished in some way) for trying to balance work-life and family-life is “one of the 5 major barriers that keep employees from contributing their best new ideas.”
  • Additionally, employees expected by corporate culture or workload to work long hours (beyond normal workdays) often have adverse health effects, “including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and disability”. Experts at Great Place to Work note that work environments that are unhealthy (including negative work environments) “cost society a staggering $130 billion and 125,000 deaths each year.”
  • Research shows that 63% of workers in 2017 reported work to be a major stressor in their lives. This type of prolonged stress can lead to poorer worker performance, increases in personal conflicts in the workplace, and decreased health in employees.
  • Forbes notes how “a positive workplace environment reduces stress in employees,” thereby making them more productive and efficient, and less likely to be sick or leave employment.
  • Experts at Gallup found that highly-engaged employees were absent 41% less than less-engaged employees. Organizations with motivated workers also saw less turnover by 24%.
  • Other research shows that employees in high-stress jobs (which could be related to culture and workspace use) visit their physicians 27% more often than employees with lower-stress jobs. Cutting stress in the workplace itself down via a comfortable, welcoming, safe, and productive environment is one way of helping to alleviate employee stress.

EMPLOYEES IMPACT CULTURE & ENVIRONMENT

  • Research published in the Journal of Facility Management Education and Research highlighted multiple studies that proved the spatial design of a workplace plays a significant role in “supporting creativity and innovation” within organizations.
  • These studies recommended a purposeful focus on the environment toward creating one that supports “convergent and divergent thinking,” both of which are indicated as necessary to a truly innovative workplace.
  • They studies also showed how that employees allowed to adjust their own personal environments (like temperature or lights, as examples) demonstrated a 3.5% - 12% increase in productivity.
  • Research shows that employees want to work in environments that are energizing and inspiring, and that employees working in these environments “feel more creative, engaged, and connected to the company.”
  • Most (85%) of employees expect to see increases in workplace mobility in the coming years. This includes not only options for telecommuting, but also workplaces designed to encourage innovation and collaboration.
  • Notably, 70% of employees from ages 16 to 44 hope to see increased mobility options at work. Increased mobility (and flexibility) leads to happier (and thus more productive) employees.

ENVIRONMENT IMPACTS CULTURE

  • Multiple studies over the last decade have proven that “there is a clear association between organizational culture” [including workspace environment] and the success of an organization. This association connects the environment with the overall culture with the employees combining into a successful combination or one that’s not so successful.
  • On average, employees report being at least 12% happier at work “when they have freedom and autonomy in their work environment.” Employees tend to shift among four general work modes “focus, collaborate, learn, and socialize.” With spaces designed to accommodate each work mode for individuals and groups research shows that overall job performance (by all employees) improves.
  • Research indicates that the physical environments in workplaces “act as symbols” in representing the company and either encourage or discourage employees from wanting to be there and be productive while there. Experts agree that physical workspaces must align with the company’s culture and values, as well as the employees’ personal values/cultures. When they are not working in concert, there is disharmony within the company culture and often, among employees.
  • One older study (that still holds strong sway with experts and was featured in a recent article) highlighted the “social identity” of employees within their workplaces, and found that the physical workspace “can affect the psychological comfort of the employees who work there.”
  • Employers seeking to establish a solid environment / culture-combo should create a workplace that is welcoming to guests, family, and friends, that offers flexibility (in various ways), that is reflective of the overall corporate culture, and that “leverages multiple workspace options.”

CULTURE IMPACTS ENVIRONMENT

  • Research from Serraview noted that companies having an innovative culture are five times “more likely to have workplaces that prioritize individual and group workplaces.”
  • A workplace that offers fair and competitive salaries, and offers “an appealing culture, workplace facilities, and technology” is likely to see job candidates accept 37% more jobs than workplaces without these features or culture.
  • Changes in the global world of work have created a rise in creative workspaces (like co-working spaces), greener/healthier workspaces, and more connected/technology-advanced workspaces. The traditional office “is on its way out,” according to experts. Contemporary offices are becoming more like “employee experience centers,” rather than traditional office spaces.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  • This literature review published by JFMER highlights more than a decade of research into how workplace design impacts company culture and employees. It includes tons of interesting studies and may be of interest.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

We conducted an in-depth exploration of workplace culture and business success as they relate to the physical space in which workers perform their duties. This led to a variety of studies published over the last 10 – 15 years. From this vast collection, we pulled only those published within the last two years, and that included detailed quantitative or qualitative data highlighting the impacts of environment on culture. From these, we were able to synthesize a collection of findings and analysis that demonstrates the importance each of these factors has on the others. We focused most on the quantitative data, and used additional qualitative data to provide the most robust response.

Part
02
of two
Part
02

Unique Office Spaces and Employee Empowerment

Innovative and unique office spaces help companies use space effectively, improve employee collaboration and engagement, improve employee health and well-being, improve cognition and concentration and improve the company's overall productivity. Below is a detailed analysis of the impact of unique office spaces on employee empowerment and inspiration.

Effective Use of Space

Helps to Improve Overall Productivity

  • Poorly-designed office workspace can have a very big negative effect on work. Forty-six percent of professionals say that their existing workspace have a big impact on their productivity
  • Workplaces that are beautiful and interesting motivate employees and make them more productive. On the other hand, isolating cubicles, dingy lighting, and colorless offices create an uninspiring and off-putting environment.
  • Investing in innovative office design helps to change the overall office mood as people look forward to coming to work, as opposed to counting down the minutes to freedom.
  • An innovative office space makes employees more connected. Research shows that connected employees improve a company's productivity by 20-25%.

Improves collaboration and Engagement

  • Innovative workplaces cause important disruptions and shake ups. They smash records and break norms. As a result, employees adapt the same culture and attitude.
  • Employees become more creative, departments come up with innovative ideas and people work together as opposed to tackling problems alone.
  • Innovative office spaces also help to improve employee engagement with their work. According to research, employees that are highly engaged result in 25 to 65 percent less attrition than their counterparts.
  • Another research shows that companies that have highly engaged employees achieve higher results by more than 200 percent.
  • In addition, companies with employees that are well engaged with their work report 41 percent less cases of absenteeism. This improves then overall productivity of employees.

An Innovative Office Space Helps to Improve Employees' Health and Well-being

Interacting with Nature Boots Employees' Cognition and Concentration

Sources
Sources

From Part 02
Quotes
  • "An overwhelming majority (87%) of workers would like their current employer to offer healthier workspace benefits, with options ranging from wellness rooms, company fitness benefits, sit-stands, healthy lunch options and ergonomic seating."
Quotes
  • "Your employees don't need a lavish multi-story office to feel more productive; you just need to be creative with your space. By having access to natural light, collaborative spaces and private meeting rooms, you'll increase employee satisfaction and productivity. People will feel free to move around and won't feel tied to their desks, creating more opportunities for creative collaboration."
Quotes
  • "Poorly-designed workspaces can have a huge effect on work, with 46% of professionals indicating that their existing workspace heavily impacted their productivity. Level up your team’s productivity by improving their work environment."
Quotes
  • "...companies with highly engaged employees result in 25 to 65 percent less attrition than their peers. With highly engaged employees, the percentage in customer satisfaction also rises. It can truly be said that improving employee engagement isn’t optional—when it comes to your company’s bottom line, it’s downright mandatory."
Quotes
  • "A study by The McKinsey Global Institute shows that productivity improves by 20-25% in organisations with connected employees. Employees who are motivated, find pleasure in their work. A similar study by Gallup indicated that employees who are engaged in their work are 27% more likely to report ‘excellent’ performance."