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Office Culture in a Nutshell

By: Chanelle Myburgh

Posted on: 21 October 2022

Have you ever really thought about your role as an active, socially dedicated employee? How do you see yourself within the company, and how can you play an important role in defining your rare – office culture?

In a nutshell, we explore the importance of a ‘culture’ within the office, paralleled with positivity, to create a way of working-life that involves the right amount of employee enthusiasm combined with a solid work ethic.  Although a workplace or office culture might be hard to define, it shouldn’t be!

Office culture is a collection of attitudes, beliefs and behaviours that make up the regular atmosphere in a working environment. It defines what is encouraged, discouraged, allowed, or refused within a group of colleagues.

An office culture will naturally form within every organisation, whether positive or to the detriment of the company. Thus, allowing negative behaviours and bad insolences to occur will cultivate an unfavourable work experience and can be expensive too. According to a report by the Society of Human Resource Management (2015), workplace cultures cost US companies about $223 billion in turnover over a period of five years. This clearly states that a optimistic culture is desirable in any business.

How can an optimistic office culture be achieved?

Firstly, it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure they foster a positive working atmosphere. When you have a physically aesthetic, positive working environment, it can improve your overall happiness, increase your productivity, and even motivate those around you. We spend a large proportion of our time at work, so it’s important not to dislike your office. If you want your team to enjoy being at work, make sure you provide a workspace that’s attractive and interesting but also conducive to productivity.

Secondly, before you can make improvements to your company’s existing culture, it’s a good idea to identify the kind of environment you hope to encourage at work. Promoting an office culture that values sharing and encourages problem solving is crucial to building trust, balance and productivity among your team. Be transparent with your team about what the company is trying to accomplish – and how this can be achieved.

Try to implement social strategies buy drawing up budgets for social gatherings, company charity events, where staff can be interactive, participation in social drives, and so forth. You will be amazed by how, just taking the time to set up a social calendar and budget, can spark much excitement, and push you to considering the implementation of fun on a more regular basis. Strategize, plan, implement and participate. Allow staff members to join in on the fun and help you plan the year’s social calendar in advance. This will also bring much relief financially, to plan ahead.

Some important strategies that can ensure a high office morale:

  1. Asking employees what they like and dislike
  2. Rejoicing in small wins
  3. Fostering a positive working environment
  4. Building strong employee relationships
  5. Connecting people to a purpose
  6. Celebrating birthdays
  7. Celebrating international/local fun days: Such as Boss’s Day
  8. Taking part in team building events
  9. Having small office socials/informal gatherings on a regular/quarterly basis
  10. Wellness programmes

There are many ways that one can implement to get all staff members engaged and build on the enthusiasm of employees. The ‘fun’ factor in a company is of utmost importance but can in many ways be underrated and unexplored. Katerina Georganta, from the University of Macedonia, states in her article, “Fun in the workplace: A matter for Health Psychologists?”, that the study of positivity in Psychology and its importance in the management of our health is increasing exponentially. Fun, as an explicit concept is understudied, especially in the context of workplace where the demands are high. She goes on to explain that most expressions of these activities have to do with personal events, professional milestones, social events, humour, games and competitions, or community involvement.

In my opinion, fun should spontaneously be created by all team individuals. Fun is therefore classified as an array of activities or memorable experiences. Each, as we share our experiences and allow others to join in and experience the same, or even bring a new angle or perspective to defining your special ‘office culture.’ But one cannot simply incorporate fun activities during work time and expect to have a result. Georganta (2012) carries on explaining that “the use of fun can function as a factor that provides a sense of belonging, feelings of sharing, something common between co-workers and even trust.”

So, what does this all really mean?

In the workplace context, where demands are increasing and the need for coping strategies to reduce stress is great, fun could play the role of an important coping mechanism that contributes to your well-being and thus again, positive working environment. When you’re a motivated individual, you’re positive and open-minded, you’re more likely to support and encourage other team members in your company. This can also lead to improved, professional relationships with your colleagues. This may be better for a company in achieving its short- and long-term goals. Implement elements of fun. Engage with staff members daily. Take a coffee break and share in each other’s work experiences, uplifting one another and being supportive.

Creating a well-disposed and favourable office culture is crucial for an organisation’s success. Employees take pride and invest their future in the business and work hard to create opportunities that will benefit the organisation. Thus, in a nutshell, take some initiative and inject some fun into the workplace and develop a healthy, positive office culture.

References:

SHRM (Internet). Toxic Workplace Cultures Hurt Workers and Company Profits. Society of Human Resource Management; [updated 2015, cited 2022]. Available from: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/pages/toxic-workplace-culture-report.aspx.

Georganta, K. 2012. Fun in the Workplace: a matter for Health Psychologists. The European Health Psychologist. 14:41-44. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/256304869_Fun_in_the_workplace_a_matter_for_Health_Psychologists.