Office culture is more important than ever before. With many employees choosing to stay working remotely while others prefer to return to the office, many businesses are dealing with a new, fragmented way of working. So, how can you grow a strong office culture during a pandemic?
Returning to the office should be an individual decision, but in general, the UK workforce is more reluctant to return to their desks than staff overseas. Working from home has been an entirely new challenge, with many growing to prefer it to the “typical” office environment.
According to “The Power of Company Culture”, entrepreneur Chris Dyer suggests that a strong sense of culture in a company is a clear signal of greater revenue growth and resilience in comparison to those that are lacking culture.
Dyer reminds us that office culture should be at the forefront of all businesses, and if it isn’t, you could be missing out financially and socially.
So how do companies nurture their office culture at a time when there are so many physical barriers?
As experts in office design, we understand the importance of creating a workspace that is suitable for you and your employees.
At the moment, the most vital factor is that your workspace is a place that your employees are excited to return to. Not only that, but it needs to be a space where they feel comfortable and safe.
The work environment needs to be somewhere they can feel at their best even during this difficult transition to the ‘new normal’. The implementation of perspex screens and transparent barriers between desks can help ease stress and worry, providing a clear safety precaution along with the necessary extra amenities such as handwashing stations and antibacterial-gel.
Establishing trust and respect between workers are vital building blocks of strong office culture.
The overall design of your office is also a strong foundation to start with when you’re thinking about what you want your culture to reflect.
If you take a look through some of our most recent projects, you’ll see that almost all of the briefs we are given stress the importance of having a functional space for employees that still has the ‘wow’ factor. Style and functionality is a balance that we have perfected over the years.
We’ve also explored the future of office design post-COVID in a recent blog, but of course, the pandemic poses a challenge when it comes to building a strong sense of community, especially if not all employees are physically back in the office.
If you have staff working remotely that are starting to feel distant, a good first step is to find out what they miss being out of the office.
If they’re missing the social aspects of break out spaces, why not try regular video calls to catch up on non-work-related topics?
If they miss bouncing ideas off each other, why not utilise an application or programme that enables staff to draw up ideas together? Or even make company presentations interactive to encourage engagement.
Many workers are self-reporting feelings of loneliness and isolation as a result of social distancing measures. It’s in these situations, maintainaing a strong sense of community can really help.
In addition to this, don’t forget to ask how staff feel about their work environments, after all, the happier they are the more productive they are likely to be. In fact, happy employees are 12% more productive. So, whether your staff choose to work remotely or return to the office, it’s important that they are comfortable in their work environment.
While the pandemic has shown us the importance of having a strong office culture to rely on, it doesn’t just end once it’s all over.
Businesses need to be using this time to find out what support their employees have needed and then use that to grow an even stronger office culture for the years to come.
If you’re looking to create an office with a culture that reflects your company values we can help.