Happiness at work is a key characteristic for the success of every organization. Its recipe is made up of social, behavioral, psychological intangible elements and tangible ones such as the workspace. Some of those elements are well defined and applicable in the same way on other organizational contexts rather than be adapted to the organization.
The company culture is the most crucial element to make a better and happier work environment. It is the set of values, beliefs and behaviors within an organization that describes how people relate to each other, to achieve results, to interact with the space where they work.
Employees are more engaged in the workplace if they are supported by better company cultures.
The workplace is the physical element that contributes to happiness at work. It means design, amenities, colors, materiality and furniture selection.
Office space immediately signify if a company culture respects and values the comfort of its employees.
The company culture and office space work closely to create positive interactions within the workplace. They affect profoundly both the individual and the workforce. The workspace is a static and inanimate space in absence of a company culture that describes the behaviors within it. It also influences the relationship between people and office space utilization. The values of the company culture aggregate all different generations who work within the space.
The intangible aspects that company culture leads along with office space affect financial results.
Speaking of happiness at work, if the office space is the hardware the corporate culture is the software.
Companies like Facebook, Google and others have created amazing cultures and amenities to foster happiness at work and attract top talents.
Those amazing cultures need to be nurtured and the changes to achieve them can be expensive for companies but happier and more productive workers will pay off in the long run.
If employees are working in old furniture that signifies company is not valuing the employee experience. Investing in the design of an office allows employees to understand where profits are being spent and creates a comfortable environment that helps to be happy at work.
Workplace amenities have become prevalent in office design as an indicator of exceptional company culture. A break room with some vending machines is not cutting it anymore as a nice place to which employees can retreat. A nap room can help employees to relax and disconnect from technology.
At Zappos, company culture has given shape to the space in which employees work. Its office space doesn’t fit the usual design but shows values in which employees believe and create a comfortable environment for everyone.
These are four of the ten core values that have affected office spaces:
Create Fun and A Little Weirdnes.
Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded.
Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication.
Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit.
Zappos has traditionally used an open office design since its early startup stage. “We designed this office so that people can really customize the space to fit their team’s needs” said Rob Timoshuk, Director of Operations.
In the offices of Spotify, the online music company in Stockholm, management delegated the design of the new offices to their employees, similarly to Zappos. The solution to separate open work spaces from corridors by using a mesh of wires, instead of using glass or walls expresses the value of transparency.
At InfoJobs’ offices in Barcelona the employees decided to give their meeting rooms names that correspond to the company’s values and decorate those rooms accordingly.
The room called “happiness” has nice pillows, blankets, flowers, books and yoga mats. It is the room where people can express themselves and experience a bit of happiness.
It’s easy to find, within a company, elements that express the corporate culture accidentally or on purpose. The orientation and shape of a table in a meeting room can signify cultural values: a rectangle table can mean a hierarchal structure whilst a circular table can mean a collaborative environment where collaboration is encouraged.
The best way to get 100% of the potentiality of a space and a company culture is to make them interact. At the center of everything there are always people who will live that space.
Text by Giovanni Battista Pozza, co-founder of Full Glass (Happiness Think Thank)