These days, companies don’t just make a name for themselves based on what they sell or the services they provide. At least, it’s not entirely about that. Companies, both big and small, are just as likely to build their reputation on who they are and what philosophies they believe in. Many have argued over the importance of a well-defined corporate culture; specifically, to what degree employees – and more importantly customers – are attuned to the values that drive an organization.
The fact is consumers are very much interested in the corporate values of the companies they buy from; globalization and competitive markets ensure that if a corporation’s beliefs aren’t in line with their own, they can just as easily purchase their goods from someone else.
What is Corporate Culture and Why is it Important?
Corporate cultures are defined by the beliefs and attitudes that guide a firm’s day-to-day operations. While generally expressed internally through a mission statement, a company’s culture can just as easily be expressed by examining the office workstations, furniture, and design of the building’s interior.
Look at it this way: Suppose two different companies offer a product you’re looking to purchase. Company A is widely known for providing their employees with ergonomic workstations, believe heavily in collaborative exercises, and place emphasis on their wellbeing. Company B on the other hand has a reputation for being difficult to work for – employees must endure the silo effect between departments and collaboration isn’t actively encouraged. Which company would you purchase from everything else being equal?
Researching Corporate Values
If you’re looking to enhance, define, or completely reinvent your company’s culture there are no shortages of companies worthy of emulation. That being said, it can be quite costly to incorporate some of the things that firms likeor offer their employees as part of their cultures (things like daily catered lunches, laundry service, naps pods, juice bars etc.)
A good place to begin developing your corporate culture is your workstations; employees will feel valued and engaged while clients and other stakeholders visiting your office can witness firsthand that you place a great deal of importance in the comfort and accessibility of your staff.
How to Match Your Office Furniture With Corporate Values
Traditional office furniture was generally centered on cost effectiveness and the efficient use of space. This often meant cheap, uncomfortable furniture nestled within a claustrophobia-inducing cubicle. At first glance, this seems like a perfectly reasonable position for a profit seeking enterprise to take; until you consider the message it sends about what their values are. Managers can proclaim all day long that employees are the backbone of their business, but it is a value that is difficult to reconcile if there has been no apparent consideration for employee comfort.
The key tois to first consider which of your values is of the utmost importance to your business. For example, if your company thrives on the collaboration of your employees, perhaps cubicles aren’t the way to go. Instead, swap out the cubicles with modular office furniture that allow teams to work within close proximity of one another. Or, consider creating communal areas that are conducive to casual encounters. A break room that offers comfortable furniture, natural light and warm colours is an inviting place for employees to congregate, share ideas, and have creative brainstorming sessions.
But maybe your business doesn’t call for a great deal of collaboration between departments, or perhaps you already have an open concept in your office. If employee comfort and wellbeing is one of your core values, ensuring that each associate has access to an adjustable height workstation or an ergonomic office chair and workstation can properly communicate your corporate value.
Another consideration to make when building your corporate culture is to create an environment that exemplifies what it is that your firm does. Creative and unique décor and artistically inspired furniture and light fixtures would be right at home in a modern advertising or marketing firm. Large windows, plants, and repurposed furniture would be perfect for a company that develops environmentally responsible products.