Blog

13 November 2019

How to Build a Great Company Culture

The workplace is changing – from the automation of manual tasks, smart HR technology and the rise of flexible and remote working. Businesses need to stay on top of emerging trends to ensure a great work culture and to reap the benefits that it offers.

What is company culture?

Company culture encompasses the beliefs and behaviours that determine the way a business operates; from leadership style and positive workplace behaviours through to customer service, employee benefits and even dress code. 

Sam Hill, Head of People and Culture at BizSpace said: “A company’s culture is how it fosters business growth through giving employees a voice while encouraging healthy day-to-day values. At BizSpace we have five values that are integral to our business; professionalism, honesty, fun, passion and teamwork. We hire people that align with our values and have a peer-to-peer platform where employees can give a shout-out to a fellow employee’s efforts for living and breathing a particular value.”

Why is company culture important?

There are over 4000 SMEs in the UK that call BizSpace home, so we understand the importance of great company culture and have seen many different examples here at BizSpace.

A report by CIPD stated that one of the top three causes of stress-related absences were because of relationships at work. A sense of community in the workplace provides an environment where employees not only feel valued but one where they can build relationships with colleagues. Plus, great company culture can provide an environment which supports mental health at work. In a study by ACAS 60% of workers said their workload was the cause of their mental health issues, 42% said it was due to the way they were managed and 35% said it was caused due to balancing home and work life. All key components that can be considered when developing a corporate company culture.
 
If we haven’t convinced you yet, creating a positive work environment means you can position your business as a more desirable place to work, increase employee retention and reduce absenteeism. Brand Experience agency RPM saw a 73% reduction in the cost of mental health-related absence since implementing their cultural strategy. 

Almost 40% of employees want to leave their job because of a toxic work culture and 86% say they would not want to work for a company that had a bad reputation with former employees. Recruitment is not only time-consuming but costly, with the average employee costing SMEs £11,000 to replace. So, creating an office environment that your employees look forward to walking in to on a Monday morning should be one of your top priorities.

Tips on how to build company culture:

Define your core values 

The best starting point for building your company culture is to define your company values. Having values that genuinely mean something to the business are a great way to foster a fantastic culture. Workday came fourth in the 2019 Fortune 100 best companies to work for. Comments by their employees are testament to the importance of core values: “The genuine focus on the core values as a main driver for most decision-making distinguishes Workday from other places I've worked. In this way, it feels like Workday has a more mission-driven approach to business than a typical for-profit company.”

Many extremely successful organisations operate this way, a prime example is Netflix. A few of their core values are judgement, courage, selflessness and impact; and they state that their philosophy is ‘people over process’. One of Adidas’ core values is ‘We are innovation and design leaders who seek to help athletes of all skill levels achieve peak performance with every product we bring to market.’ 

How to define your values

Brainstorm and work collaboratively with your team to define what your company aspires to and what your employees’ value. Try to develop 3-7 core values that matter most to you and your business. If you’re a small local business, perhaps it’s important for you to source locally where possible and to hire staff from the locale. It could, therefore, be important for you to be involved in the community. All of this forms part of defining your values.

To help get your creative juices flowing, take a look at BizSpace’s values, mission and vision below.

Case study: BizSpace

Our Vision

To be recognised as the best provider of flexible business space and a great place to work.

Our Mission

To be the space that Britain’s small businesses are proud to call home by truly understanding what’s important to them, making things easier and celebrating their successes.

Our Values

Honesty: We believe honesty is the best policy.

Passion: We share passion for business in all its glorious variety.

Professionalism: We think professionalism is the art of the detail.

Teamwork: We believe teamwork is how individuals shine.

Fun: We think all work and no fun is no good for anyone.

 

Hold regular events

Holding regular social events are a great way to bring people together, and they don’t have to be difficult to organise. Google are infamous for their company perks; they offer free fitness classes and every Friday employees can socialise and enjoy free beer and wine. BizSpace Glasgow recently had a ‘Ping Pong and Pizza’ event for people at their business centre. It was a fantastic turn-out on the day, with many people saying what a fun afternoon it had been. Centre Manager, Heidi McMillan said: “Always try to incorporate team bonding exercises, whether it be a working lunch, ping pong tournament or a night out at the local bowling alley! A strong and valued team always equals a strong business. Getting to know your staff and/or clients on a personal level pays off ten-fold – feeling welcomed, comfortable and heard will encourage loyalty and a wonderful work ethic.” 

Other events you could consider could be a dress-down Friday or team-building events. Why not do an away day once a year? Here’s a list of team-building activities you could consider:

  • Karaoke night
  • Sports day
  • Bake-off competition
  • Pub quiz
  • Escape room
  • Bingo
  • Team lunches
  • Payday drinks
  • Wellness Wednesdays

 

Consider your workspace design

Office design and layout play an essential role in your company culture. Traditional offices have changed significantly over time – think back to the not so fondly named ‘cube farms’ that gained popularity in the 60s!

Since then, office layout has come a long way. What will work for you will, of course, depend on your business, but here are a few things to consider:

Open plan

An open-plan office is a popular choice today, encouraging collaboration and discussion across multiple departments.

Work Pods

With the ever-popular open-plan workspace design, it’s important to give staff a space where they can get some solitude when needed. Work pods are a great way to offer that and can be cleverly designed not to take up too much space in your office.

Breakout areas

A breakout area is a space where employees can escape from their usual working area. It can be a place for them to take five, eat their lunch and even hold informal meetings. It’s also a space where employees can get a break from their computer screen and a useful area where you can hold events or extra-curricular activities.

Meeting rooms

Depending on the size and function of your business, it may be important to consider separate meeting room space. You can utilise partition walls and acoustic panels which will give you more flexibility than a permanent structure but still provide the privacy required in an open-plan office. Alternatively, many business centres offer meeting rooms to rent by the hour or day.

Storage

By this point, you’re imagining your beautiful new workspace layout, but don’t forget this critical factor. Storage is a key element to your workspace design; the last thing you want is a cluttered environment and people tripping over things. 

Office plants

So, you have your layout sorted, but don’t forget about the detail. Biophilic design has become a huge part of architecture and interior design with people realising the impact connecting people with plants and nature can have on wellbeing. They are even capable of increasing productivity, reducing anxiety levels and even reducing fatigue.

Spider plants and succulents are a great low maintenance option, or if you want to really impress you could install a living wall.

 

Use an internal communications platform

Consider using a social platform specifically created for the workplace such a Yammer or Staffbase or Slack. Encourage employees to use it regularly to share day-to-day activities, success stories and social company events. You’ll be able to use it not only as a social platform for building your sense of community in the workplace but for announcements and polls too. It’s a great way to improve your internal communications and reduce the number of mass emails sent internally. That’s not a bad shout considering many emails go unread in the workplace.

 

Encourage wellness

Considering what a large part of our week we spend in the office, encouraging wellness is another excellent way to foster community and help staff to feel happier and healthier at work. 

From an on-site fitness centre to ‘Free Fruit Fridays’ there are many things you can do to encourage wellness. 

Asana, the business that provides the handy project-management tool, has a fantastic wellness programme including nap pods and monthly health-themed workshops. And, it looks like it pays off -98% of employees say it’s a great place to work.

Centre Manager Lynne Oliver hosts regular after-work yoga sessions for the businesses based at BizSpace Sunderland North Sands. Lynne said: “The benefit is not only improved fitness - it’s also great for mental health and because it’s straight after work we have no excuse not to get moving!”

BizSpace Sunderland is already booked up until Christmas, proving how popular it’s been. Lynne said: “Since the sessions, I have noticed more of a buzz around the building, it’s helped to break the ice and has got more people talking who may have normally not crossed paths.”

Your business culture

You should now be well equipped to start developing your workplace culture programme. Start with defining your core values and from that you can develop a wider programme of company events and wellness initiatives. Plus, don’t forget the importance of workspace design.

Think about what you would want your company to be remembered for, or what you’d hope your employees would say to their friends. What can you do to make a difference or to stand out? In the wise words of Jay-Z “Don’t ever go with the flow, be the flow.”

We hope that this blog has given you some insight into company culture, its benefits, and how to create a great workplace culture.

BizSpace is a leading provider of flexible workspace with over 100 sites across the U.K offering office space, workshops, and coworking. If your business is looking for new premises, BizSpace has loads of different types of workspace available to rent on flexible plans at great prices.

Author

Hannah Lloyd-Jones