Work culture can make or break employee engagement and satisfaction. Step into their shoes. Would you want to go to work every day if you knew that the office you’re going to was demotivating and boring? Of course, not.
In fact, teams that are more engaged and organized can generate up to 21% more profit. This means employees have clear expectations of what work to do, goals, and are supported along the way.
That’s also why it’s more important than ever for companies to develop a positive and encouraging office culture. No matter if you’re about to build your first office or already have a location in place, there are some major mistakes to avoid if you want to experience these kinds of numbers.
Keep reading if you want to learn the 7 most common work culture mistakes to avoid that will completely transform your business environment.
1) Monitoring your employees too closely
You need to ensure that employees are remaining productive and engaged throughout the day. That makes sense. However, too many companies breathe down the back of employees, making them uncomfortable. Seeing as 92% of employees believe empathy will greatly improve their retention, this isn’t something to scoff at.
Some companies go as far as monitoring employees’ phones outside of work, watching their screens, and other privacy-invading activities.
These aren’t necessarily bad to an extent, but when they cross personal boundaries and extend outside of work, you may have a problem.
You can avoid this work culture mistake and give employees more privacy by measuring their performance first and foremast. If you have rules in place like not being able to browse social media while working or similar, let those set the precedent.
Trusting them will create a more relaxed work environment where they will be productive and comfortable. If they are hitting KPIs and completing tasks on time, what’s to worry about?
2) Not giving employees a relaxed dress code
You need to dress the part especially when working with clients and while networking. Having sweatpants on can make you feel lazy and like you’re about to sleep versus churning out eight hours of work.
On the flip side, not everyone enjoys wearing a suit and tie every day. Most people like throwing on a pair of jeans, a shirt, and heading out the door. That’s why more and more companies are offering a relaxed dress code in their offices.
Employees have to represent your company well, so it can’t be too relaxed, but giving them freedom helps them retain some power and control over their day. They are able to express themselves better with this approach, too.
For example, you could make it mandatory to wear dress shoes while jeans and any casual shirt is fine. Or, you may want to consider still having a traditional dress code but making it relaxed on specific days.
3) A stiff and boring office space
Does your office look like a hospital or dentist’s office? Then it might be time to make a change. If employees are going to spend eight hours or more every day in an office, it should be stimulating and motivating, right?
The days of white walls and cubicles are gone. Office spaces are starting to look a lot more like a home or college campuses these days. This offers everyone in a work culture a more positive, fun, and creative environment.
Look at Google, for example. Their office features bright colors, open spaces, and no shortage of couches and fun furniture to work from.
This makes work feel a lot more entertaining and employees will be excited to come to the office in the morning. Wouldn’t you?
You don’t have to go this far, though. Look at Dropbox’s San Francisco office.
While it offers an open design that acts as a breath of fresh air, high ceilings for space, and standing desks, it still has an overall modest design. It’s a nice in-between zone.
Entrepreneurs can use these companies as inspiration by:
- Opening up office spaces, so they feel less cramped.
- Adding more natural elements like plants and green color furniture or paint.
- Allowing employees to bring in decorations and items to make their space feel like home.
- Taking advantage of exciting colors like yellow, orange, and red to stimulate team members.
- Implementing taller windows that bring in natural light and let you see the outside world.
4) Not offering amenities and downtime
It’s been scientifically proven that taking strategic breaks can make you more productive. How does that work? Simply because the human brain isn’t equipped to do things for long periods of time, but rather use bursts of energy to get tasks done quickly.
That means if employees don’t get enough downtime and opportunities to recuperate during the workday, their performance will slowly taper off and they’ll be dying to go home.
This can be avoided by adding more amenities to your work’s office. Think pool tables, ping pong, a cafe, balconies, and other areas where they can kickback.
Heck, there are offices that are integrating gyms and saunas into the workspace! Brainstorm fun and active features your work culture could have that would stand out and give employees a refreshing break.
5) Bringing in the wrong people
There’s no “I” in the team.
Making sure that the people who make up your company get along and keep each other held accountable is massive for success.
If employees don’t get along, bicker, and constantly run to HR, they aren’t getting work done. They won’t look forward to coming into the office and they definitely won’t stay in your company as long as you would like.
How can a company get around this common work culture mistake? By having a thorough hiring process.
This means outlining a very clear persona of who you want working within your business. Credentials and experience aside, who would you want in your work culture personality-wise? Would they be optimistic? Team players? These are some of the greatest things to look for before real-world experience.
Someone could be the very best at what they do, but if they cause commotions and disturbances in the office, is it worth keeping them? Probably not.
6) Not constantly updating work culture
Planning out how to optimize your office culture like with some of the ideas in today’s article is great. Nonetheless, you can’t think work culture is a one-and-done thing. It takes continuous effort to refine and improve over time.
Sure, your first shot might get a lot of things right, but employee feedback and new trends might make you think differently later. In fact, 89% of human resource professionals agree that feedback and check-ins play a large role in organizational success.
You need to keep an open mind and be ready to make new changes to your company’s culture on the fly. This also keeps your business continually evolving, never getting boring or predictable for everyone working within it.
7) A lack of core values to follow
If we asked you to name your company’s main values, would you be able to cite them? Don’t worry if you can’t. It’s more common than you think. There are so many important procedures to do every day while running a company it’s easy to gloss over little details.
But the reality is having a few core values your company follows can greatly improve work culture. Some common values are honesty, positivity, communication, commitment, and passion, for example. What would you say are the greatest values that shape your business?
Having these publically available for employees to constantly absorb will keep them on their mission every day. Something as simple as writing them on a whiteboard or placed up as wall art is more than enough.
Wrapping up work culture mistakes
Developing a positive and engaging work culture is crucial for the long term success of your business. Many businesses neglect their importance and suffer a high turnover rate with employees as a result. You don’t have to be one of them, though.
Consider dialing back how closely you monitor employees. It’s okay to ensure that they are remaining productive and on-task, but invading their privacy can do more harm than good.
Similarly, a good work culture should offer employees freedom in how they dress and express themselves. Make your dress code more casual while remaining professional.
The environment in which your employees work is very important, too. Some of the biggest companies in the world resemble a college campus more than a traditional office these days. That means open spaces, natural elements, fun colors, and plenty of amenities.
On that note, having extra things to do around the office like games helps keep employees in good spirits while socializing before getting back to work.
That’s another critical component of work culture — bringing in the right people. Don’t just hire someone based on their resume, but rather how they would motivate and make others feel.
Doing these things and avoiding the common mistakes we outlined today will transform your work culture into one employee can’t wait to be a part of.