Build Your Work Space Around Your Culture

This week, the company I work for moved into a new space. To say that the space is anything less than amazing is an understatement. I have been a part of some spectacular work spaces and this design is one of the best I’ve experienced. From the collaborative space, to the touches of our company culture and the culture of Chicago, this space has it all. And it was intentionally designed around our culture of learning and curiosity, a growth mindset, and teamwork and collaboration. When designing new work spaces, don’t try to create a culture. Let your culture design the space.

Google anything related to work space or office design and you will find trends around an open concept and all the blogs that hate those spaces. You will find areas designed to create a certain feel or culture. You can’t talk about an office design without mentioning the proverbial ping-pong table or beer keg, but most experts will tell you those “perks” do not build a culture or retain talent. Organizations that get culture right, hire the people first, then design the work space around them.

In the past 5 years, I have been a part of redesigned work spaces in my company for at least 10 locations. All of our offices not only embody our overall corporate culture and values, but also capture the culture of the local city where our employees reside. Our employees are able to show up every day and be productive and collaborative in an environment that was designed and built for them. They can show up and be their authentic selves, do meaningful work, and deliver for our clients and partners.

When it comes time to move into a new work space or redesign, don’t fall for the typical “culture builders” like sleep pods and pool tables. Talk to your employees. Find out what is important to them and what makes them most comfortable. Think about your clients and how you could create a space for them to work. Invest around your culture. It really does matter.

(If you’re in the Chicago area, give me a call and stop by for a visit! That’s me in our new kitchen area.)

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