Does your office space reflect your company culture?

JungleWorld, London-based office and corporate flower suppliers, claim that they ‘will make sure first impressions count’ on their website. Filling an office with colorful flowers and exotic plants can certainly make a striking impression on visiting customers and clients.

Aside from being aesthetically pleasing, adapting your working space can send out a strong message to both customers and employees about your company culture.

In an age of online business interactions and collaborative tools, face to face meetings with clients are no longer the absolute necessities they once were. The number of people working from home in the UK is continuing to rise and the serviced office industry is growing exponentially in both size and popularity as illustrated by companies like Regus and i2 Office. How can modern business owners ensure that their office space represents the core values of their company and justify having an office at all?

Understand what your employees want

A 2003 survey by Management Today Magazine found that 97% of respondents regarded their place of work as a symbol of whether or not they were valued by their employer. A third said they were ashamed to bring back colleagues or clients.

A more recent survey found that two thirds of respondents place a high level of importance on their office décor, and 90% (perhaps unsurprisingly) felt more productive in a cleaner office environment.

While you may not have the budgetary flexibility or space to install a gym, cinema and cocktail bar in your office, there are small but significant changes you can make to the workspace which can really make a difference.

A 2014 study entitled ‘The relative benefits of green vs lean office space’ found that while the minimalist look might be the height of fashion, it was making most employees feel pretty low. Just adding some small personalized elements can hugely improve morale and productivity.

Take the opportunity to make something unique

For companies in artistic or design-based industries, the workspace can work almost as a huge interactive portfolio for prospective customers.

If your business isn’t in a design based industry you may wish to leave it to the professionals and engage the services of a workspace design firm who can work according to a pre-arranged budget and make the most of any size of office space. Look for a company who will take practicalities alongside aesthetics seriously, according to Open Workspace Design lighting and power are some of the most important aspects of office interior design.

Demonstrate your core company values

Your workspace can demonstrate the values that are central to your brand image. An obvious example is Google, whose reputation for quirkiness, innovation and not being evil has led them to push the boundaries of office design. Demonstrating your company values through your workspace is not about expensive makeovers and gadgets. It is far more about understanding and embracing the parts of your business that matter most to you and your employees.

Whether this is an open and collaborative culture, a reputation for quality and innovation or even just a friendly and quirky brand image, echoing those values in your office space can create a sense of unity within your business.

Understand the perspective of your customers

If your office is likely to be visited by customers and clients, even on a relatively rare basis, it is worth putting some thought into their view of your working space. For example, fun and unusual office additions are fantastic as long as you can maintain client faith in your ability and the quality of your professional output.

This is especially true for small businesses and agencies without the brand recognition of major corporations. Just as an office can work as an interactive portfolio it can also work as a glaring advertisements of any flaws in your brand image.

Understanding the perspective of your customers can help steer any office redesign projects and provide ongoing value for your business moving forward. Creating an office space that reflects your company culture can be hugely valuable, both for uniting employees and for creating a welcoming and unique space for visiting customers and clients.

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Written by:
Simon Davies is a London based freelance writer with an interest in startup culture, issues and solutions.
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