Workplace Culture

A workplace is so much more than a building. It is the beating heart of your organisation. Your unique business culture flows through the veins of your workplace, influencing team motivation, attitude, productivity and service levels.

Your workplace culture also reflects your company’s values while providing a cocoon that nurtures the talent within your business. Talent is precious. A study showed that 37% of job candidates will accept a job with a lower salary if the company offers an appealing culture, workplace facilities and technology.1

A positive workplace culture has a direct effect on the bottom line: in a global survey of 22,000 workers, organisations scoring in the top 25% on employee experience reported nearly three times the return on assets and double the return on sales compared to organisations in the bottom quartile.2

Workplace Design

The culture of any business starts at the top and company leaders decide when it is time for change. The workplace design is critical to the employee experience. The physical environment should nurture and inspire your team through a “people centric” workplace design, supporting workflows and tasks and giving people choice about how and where they work.

How does your workplace design impact culture?

The casual and formal interaction between people at work is the bedrock of your culture. Day to day conversations, meetings, emails—people soak up the cultural mood of these interactions. Believe it or not, the infrastructure behind this interaction is your workplace design and fit-out. It impacts the ease of communication and collaboration and opens up creative opportunities.  Design also affects movement around the workplace and the ability to complete tasks. Poor design negatively impacts interaction and therefore workplace culture.

Employees are your brand. If your workplace fit-out emulates your values and brand objectives, staff will live and breathe the cultural vibe and this will positively impact their communication with customers. Walk the talk—if you offer high-tech services or products, give your staff the latest technology to work with. Add features to your workplace design that align with your brand values. For example, Airbnb themes its office meeting rooms around real property listings. There is even a workspace in the San Francisco office that resembles a houseboat.

Collaboration, health and well-being

A positive workplace culture will be enhanced by a workplace design that supports collaboration, health and well-being. An agile and flexible workplace would include quiet working zones, private meeting rooms, group meeting pods, open workstation areas and breakout spaces. A workplace fit-out that has well-designed breakout areas can help people feel “at home at work”, promoting better health and well-being.

Many workplaces expect employees to be available outside the traditional 9-5 workday. This requires some give and take to prevent staff burn-out. Encourage staff to take time out and recharge (not just the batteries on their iPhones!). Breakout spaces will double up as work areas because people just can’t help collaborating over a relaxing cuppa!
The WELL Building Standard has guidelines for workplace fit-outs that support health and well-being. There are ten concepts with distinct health intents: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mind and Community. All these concepts have elements that can contribute to people centric workplace designs and promote a positive cultural vibe.

Encourage movement at workstations and around the workplace with sit-stand desks, separate print rooms and water stations. Even a minor office refurbishment (e.g. a new meeting hub with exercise bike desks) or new facilities (e.g. fresh water drinking stations) can reinvigorate the workforce and improve the employee experience.

Please call the workplace design team at Evoke Projects on 1300 720 692 to explore fit-outs that promote positive cultural change.

  1. Hassell and Empirica Research cited in
  2. Positive Employee Experiences Boost Bottom Line – Carol Patton quoting the IBM and Globoforce 2016 WorkTrends Survey