A truly great workplace culture is composed of many different facets, from the way you hire to the coffee you serve in the lunchroom—but the most important aspect is the workplace itself. In many ways, your workspace defines your culture. It’s the physical embodiment of your beliefs, your standards and your theories on how to treat your employees and run your business.
One of my best clients was a business called Nurse Next Door. The first time I visited their offices, I was shocked. Boxes everywhere, stacks of files falling, drab colors, scratched and dented furniture – not really the kind of environment people feel compelled to ‘give it their all’ in. The stakeholders weren’t slobs, they were just focused on running their rapidly growing business, and didn’t see the forest for the trees.
But kudos to them for listening when I said cleaning up was the most important thing they could do to keep the business growing. Forget good employees -‐ no employees want to work in a crummy office like that.
They endeavored to de-clutter and clean, and it’s since become part of the very culture of their business. Every Wednesday is now “Waste less Wednesday”, with everyone pitches in to keep things looking clean and neat.
The change has been profound; the energy in the building is drastically better, employee’s moods have changed and more people can fit into the space without it feeling crowded.
In fact, the owners had been looking into bigger offices before the clean up, but saw there wasn’t a need once all the clutter had been removed.
Need more proof the uncluttered digs have worked? BC Business magazine named Nurse Next Door the best company to work for in British Columbia a few years ago.
I’ve heard from a few people that a clean desk is the sign of a sick mind. I couldn’t disagree more. Who can think clearly and efficiently when they are hemmed in on all sides by stakes of looming files? Not only is it visually unpleasant, it has a subconscious effect of adding mental clutter. Most brains are wired to desire order and cleanliness and yours will likely add tidying the mess to its unconscious ‘To Do’ list.
And before you go label me as an obsessive/compulsive clean freak, let me be clear that I am not suggesting you don a white-‐glove and spent hours each day scrubbing. The idea is to keep the office free of unnecessary clutter -‐ broken office equipment, old files, retired computers, anything that can be stored, donated or scrapped.
People should get an instant idea what your company is like the second they walk through the door, and a dingy, disorderly space sends the wrong message.