The culture you create at your workplace is a reflection of the brand you’ve built. While some of the customer-facing dynamics of your brand may be unseen or hidden behind a corporate identity you're putting forward, you're still communicating something with every decision you make.
A flat organization where the CEO works collaboratively with the interns will likely have a workspace that promotes and provokes that type of work environment. A traditional, authority-oriented leadership structure will be structured to reflect its values, with office and workflow layouts that promote the org chart and organizational hierarchy. The point is simple: The space you’re in is a reflection of the brand you’re communicating. And the brand you’re communicating is a reflection of what you’ve built — whether intentionally or unintentionally.
So how do you create a space that looks and feels like the culture that matters to you?
Ultimately, it’s up to you to create the culture of your company. Putting in the hard work of discovering who exactly you are and why your company is essential will help you extract the value that you bring to the marketplace. This value and purpose will help you articulate the unique proclivities of your brand that can be embodied in practical ways.
Embodying Your Values
It’s not always about having your organizational values printed on a canvas or cross-stitched on a pillow. Sometimes it’s simple, practical steps that make what matters to you evident in the workspace you’ve created.
Do you value collaboration? Invest in a good conference room, with the right furniture and food. Invest in the right software. Create workstations and offices that don’t isolate people from one another but put them together in common spaces.
Do you value philanthropy? Create a space in your facility where non-profits or fundraising efforts are highlighted, where progress is measured, and where good news is celebrated.
Do you value your team; giving credit to your people and promoting from within? Build reward programs and fun, creative platforms from which to celebrate your people and their contributions to what you’re doing.
Do you value “outside the box” thinking? Then create a workspace that’s outside the box.
In some industries, drab or uninspiring space won’t have as many implications. But that doesn’t mean there still aren't some simple decisions you can make to say the right things. The more you know about who you are and what matters to you, the more you’re able to create space and experiences to reflect it. The space you’re creating for your workspace should feel right, and there’s no way for it to feel right if you don’t know enough about who you are or what you care about.
The point in all of this is simple: Demonstrate your values in the space you create. Build an environment that looks and feels like what’s most important to you.