Workplace Culture: Is it all Hype?

Workplace Culture: Is it all Hype?

A New Honesty in the Workplace

As workplace designers, we often ponder the connection between workspace and the culture of an organization. Does the environment an individual works in shape or support the business culture? Can space foster cultural transformations in companies? Are all these workspace trends helping organizations and their employees, or is it all hype? During a recent Roundtable hosted by SmithGroup’s Workplace practice, the relationship between organizational culture, human capital and the built environment were discussed and debated.

Despite a diverse representation of industries and company size, our participants shared many common themes. The dialog uncovered a need for transparency in the workplace. Not only spatial transparency, but a desire for organizational transparency, leading us to conclude there’s “A New Honesty in the Workplace”.

The resulting synopsis summarizes the discussion and highlights the following takeaways:

  • Many organizations are rethinking the essential role of the workplace. The conversation of why anyone comes to work is a much deeper and richer discussion focused on energy and human interaction.
  • Workplaces work best when focused on people, not real estate
  • Transparency is best achieved when everyone feels they are “in it together”. Wise companies know how to foster change, and manage the process well. Employees want company leadership to lead by example to demonstrate buy-in.
  • Success workplace designs are creative, yet rational. They aren’t gimmicky or thematic, but logical, self-explanatory and smart. They fit with the organizational culture, industry and region.

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