4 Key Elements of Workplace Culture

Company or workplace culture isn’t a brand new term, but it is one that didn’t come into vogue until the last several years. Certainly, it’s not a concept that our parent and grandparents gave a lot of thought to, but an understanding of it is definitely required today.

In fact, a positive workplace culture is fundamental to morale, efficiency, and productive interpersonal relationships. In short, it’s a prerequisite for corporate team building and your ongoing success.

The specific details of your company’s culture are constantly changing, but by thinking of it as consisting of the following four elements, you’ll be able to keep hold of this often slippery concept. And once you’ve developed this flexible grasp, you can improve upon it and maximize productivity.

1. Physical Environment of The Work Space

The physical environment of your office is something that’s often ignored, but it remains a determining factor of its overall character. After all, your people spend close to half of their waking hours interacting with one another inside this space, so how could it not be a significant part of your office dynamic? Here are four things to consider when thinking about the effect of your office environment:

  • The quality of furniture and decorations in the workspace– does the office look like a pleasant place to work?
  • The office’s overall configuration– how does it impede or facilitate productivity and positive interactions?
  • How is space allocated to your staff members? What role does this space place in individual and collective productivity?
  • Is your equipment up-to-date, well-maintained, and easily accessible to everyone?

2. Personality and Character of Your Staff

Obviously, your staff is the core of your company culture. But you’ll need to understand the subtleties of their various personalities to assess their work relationships accurately. Here are a few important factors to consider:

  • value systems and beliefs
  • different backgrounds
  • varying talents and skills
  • individual strengths and weaknesses
  • social and emotional intelligence of each individual

3. Communication Within Your Workplace

Maximum efficiency requires nuanced communication.  Ths includes communication between staff members as well as between management team members and their employees.  Answer these questions to get an idea of how your office communication impacts workplace culture:

  • Is important information conveyed directly or indirectly?
  • How often does one-on-one communication occur between staff members?
  • What is the overall tone of your office communication?
  • Does management praise or encourage their employees when appropriate?
  • Does the overall communication style in your office encourage feelings of inclusion?


4. Your Department’s Managment Style

Attitude, communication style, and morale all trickle down from the top, so your department’s management style is clearly a big part of workplace culture. The first question to ask is how deeply members of your management team reflect on how they treat and communicate with their staff members. Self-knowledge is key to productive work relationships.

Second, pay attention to the example management sets with their work habits and behavior. Even if they’re not consciously aware of it, your staff is constantly observing the behavior of their supervisors and mirroring it in the workplace. Your team’s management style can make or break your company, so make sure they’re conveying positivity and reflecting a sense of your company’s driving mission.

Although it’s certainly possible to divide these elements further, taking these four into consideration is an excellent way to begin assessing and improving your workplace culture. In fact, it’s their broadness that makes them an effective set of tools for understanding your workplace dynamic. They’ll allow you to capture the essence of what’s happening right now within your company and keep you up to date going forward.