Office space is more than a place for your people to work. Great offices communicate and build culture, taking what makes your company unique and physically manifesting that vision and mission. If you think that an office is just cubicles, chairs, conference rooms and corporate employees, keep reading.
Is your organization hierarchical? If it is, that can be represented in its physical space, with small cubes leading to big cubes, then to offices of varying sizes and desirability. On the other hand, an open plan where everyone is on a wide open floor, or a reverse plan, where the open areas are close to windows and offices line the internal core as opposed to vice versa, can communicate those values. Every type of office plan can be made to work for various blends of roles, but the way that you control access to the most desirable amenities can send a strong cultural message.
Are you collaborative, or more interested in supporting your team's time spent doing focus-intensive tasks? Walls, quiet, and controlled spaces help support the latter. Open, creative, and boisterous spaces can help to let people collaborate, and feel like they aren't bothering too many people along the way. Offering both types of space can cater to both constituencies within your company.
When wellness and health are part of your company's core values, your office can carry that message. Biophilic design, ample access to the outdoors and the inclusion of natural light in your design all help to broadcast those values. Creating spaces for exercise and healthy eating while occupying space that is friendly to commuters that walk, jog or bike to work also amplifies that aspect of your culture.
Perhaps your organization has a more traditional business culture. In that instance, dark wood features, libraries, and motivational posters on the walls could reinforce that method of operating. You might choose to have conservative -- or no -- music for background noise. On the other hand, edgy modern art on the walls or whimsical structure in the middle of workspaces could send completely different cultural messages.
Where is your company logo? How is it portrayed? Do you have it as a brushed metal three-dimensional sign affixed to the wall in the lobby or spray-painted on an exposed brick wall? Perhaps all of the furniture in your space is inspired by your company's colors.
Everything that you've read to this point might seem disjointed. But all of these ideas represent ways that you can turn your office space into a living embodiment of your brand and culture. Whatever message you want your space to send, it can communicate. And with that, you can turn it into a rallying point that reinforces your company's relationship with the members of your team that have the highest degree of cultural compatibility.
Here are a few other articles we think you'll enjoy: