Changing Office Culture

Changing Office Culture - Creating a friendly office environmentOffice jobs are becoming more and more popular in the UK as so much work is now computer based. Today, around 25% of the total British workforce is employed in an office. A friendly and comfortable working environment is important no matter what your job role, and offices are a prime example of this.

The amount of work that gets done in an office can vary hugely depending on many factors, from the provision of office supplies to noise levels and the quality of the furniture. So how can you ensure you have productive and pleasant office surroundings?

A friendly office has repeatedly been voted the most important element of a good workplace. Nobody wants to arrive at work to find hostility and silence awaits them. A friendly atmosphere, where everyone gets along and people are welcoming and approachable, can make all the difference between employees having a good day or a bad day at work.

Changing an entrenched office culture is not easy, though – it requires the upper management to make changes, but more importantly, to get the workforce on their side. Without this, the purpose of any changes will be defeated as the workers rebel against something they do not understand or agree with at first glance. Likewise, without the management on board, changes are very hard to apply successfully because organisations are run from the top downwards.

One idea for creating a friendly office environment is to combine employees with different experience levels. Younger team members may provide energy and enthusiasm, while more established workers can provide insight from past experience. This encourages clear communication between different levels and in turn will create a more open and approachable attitude.

Another idea is to create a plant-filled room or garden where workers can spend a set time every week brainstorming with a blank page. This will create a nice physical environment as well as encouraging initiative and forward thinking.

Thirdly, offer flexible schedules and avoid ultra-strict routines that tend to make people feel suffocated. Allow employees to have control over their own destiny, as it’s important they feel trusted. Essentially, operate a culture where everyone is equal, no matter their position within the company.

Sometimes, just changing the physical office environment can provide a much needed change. Can you provide a larger break area, or maybe a relaxing room where employees can just chill out for a little while? It’s also a good idea to avoid private office suites where certain employees could be made to feel inferior to others. Arranging workstations so that everyone is equal can have a huge impact on morale. Also make sure employees have all the supplies they need, from lever arch files to staplers to the correct IT equipment. This will increase productivity and ensure workers don’t feel they are deprived of anything.

A final but very easy way to change an office environment is to implement an ‘appreciation scheme’. If you want to eradicate fear, fighting and intolerance, then this can work wonders. The simple premise is that managers leave notes and gifts for colleagues to tell them how much they enjoy working with them and appreciate their efforts. The gift-giver should not reveal their identity – just sit back and watch as the atmosphere in the office begins to shift. People will be nicer to one another and may even join the appreciation scheme themselves and start leaving notes and gifts for others. It’s a small gesture but one which can make a big difference when it comes to building esteem, communication and good office relations.

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For more small business advice see our articles on Motivating Employees Staff Planning and Are You a Good Boss? 11 Tips for Successful Management.

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