The Importance of Workplace Culture
Hi! My name is Alyssa Wadey and I started working at Jive two months ago as a PR + Social Media Coordinator. When my friends and family asked me how work is going and what’s my favourite part, I instantaneously responded with “the environment here is fantastic and my co-workers are wonderful!”
I have worked in a variety of industries and one thing I always take note of is the workplace culture. This is because of how much it can impact my work and my life outside of work.
Let’s look at the math. According to Health Canada, the average Canadian is awake for 112 hours a week. On average 40-45 of those are spent at work. This means that we spend 36% - 40% of our “awake hours” with our co-workers at the office each week!
Google “the importance of workplace culture” and hundreds of articles will pop up. This is because workplace culture is more important now than it has ever been. A positive work atmosphere encourages happy employees and makes those 40-45 hours spent in the office more than just bearable. As the saying goes “happy employees happy life,” right?
Therefore, I have compiled a list of characteristics from my jobs over the years that have contributed to strong workplace cultures, no matter the industry:
I cannot stress this one enough. If employees feel like they cannot be open and come forward with any concerns or comments, issues will persist. It is like a festering wound, it will keep getting worse if it is not taken care of. Fostering an environment where employees feel comfortable speaking up is important for the personal health of the employees and overall health of the company.
Breaks and Celebrations in the Office
It is often said that you are supposed to only lay in bed when you are ready to go to sleep, that way your body associates bed with sleep. Humans associate places with how they make them feel from past experiences. If the workplace means all work and no play with eight hours at a desk, they are not going to be happy showing up to work every day. Encouraging breaks with your staff, even just to walk and grab a coffee together, or celebrating successes or new members/birthdays during the workday, brings positivity to the workplace. Instead of dreading the office, employees will look forward to it and associate good times with going to work.
Co-workers Outside of Work
It is important to have a relationship with your co-workers, in and outside of the office. With that being said I have learned that when you are with co-workers outside of the office it is best to leave work where it belongs. I have experienced both sides of this: co-workers who couldn’t leave work at work and co-workers who could. When you are with your co-workers outside of the office make it a habit to not talk about work but rather enjoy your time getting to know them and have fun with them!
When timing permits, plan an adventure with the whole team! Get out of the office together and do something new. This encourages relationship building and provides employees with the chance to get to know their teammates, not just as co-workers from the office. I have met some of my best friends at my workplaces. Those relationships made going to work just that much better and have continued past my term of employment.
Encouraging Personal and Team Growth
Knowing that the head of your company wants to see you succeed and grow is truly a positive experience. Encouraging your employees or fellow co-workers to continue growing means you care about more than just the work they are producing for you. Whether it is signing up for an external course, workshop or hosting a team-learning event, your employees and co-workers will value the company and their position within it.
Fostering the type of work culture you want is not something that can happen overnight and will be different based on the industry and size of company. But there is one thing I know for sure, the type of workplace culture has a direct impact on the calibre of work produced by employees and their overall experience with the company.