You’ve heard “you are what you eat.” Well, the same applies to your workspace. With as many hours as we spend behind desks and screens and in shared spaces with our coworkers, eventually, “you are where you work.”
Remember the first tech boom when ping pong tables were the hottest office must-have accessory for all startups? That wasn’t just a coincidence. Having a ping-pong table in your breakroom signaled that this startup wasn’t business as usual. It meant that you were doing something different. It told the world and every employee working with you that they were involved in something new, exciting, and innovative. It seems simple now, but it was a bold move.
These days you can work anywhere — amazing things have been done in less than ideal conditions — but there’s a reason why Apple and Google moved out of their garages. There’s a reason why Facebook and Reddit moved out of their dorm rooms. And the reason is… your office space matters!
One huge benefit of having your own office space is that it gives you the ability to establish your company culture in a physical form. Unlike a co-working space that reflects the ideals and vision of the space owners, a private workspace reflects who you are — your company’s values, your mission, and what inspires you.
Are you a free-wheeling creative agency? Create an open floor plan that allows your employees to bounce ideas off each other without bouncing off the walls. Taking deep dives into data and analysis? Be sure to give your people the quiet and privacy they need to perform and focus. However you choose to design your office, those choices are yours and the space itself can serve to motivate your people to do their very best work.
In addition to inspiring your staff to excel, your office space tells potential clients and employees who you are. A nondescript conference room or a glassed off area in a coworking space doesn’t say a thing about you or your company. However, if a potential client or employee walks through an office where they can see comfortable and inspired employees living out your company’s mission and values at every turn, well, that just might signal that you’re in the business of creating something bigger than even your office can contain.
While you can layout your company’s culture within the design of your office space, having everyone under the same roof is the best way to ensure your values and goals are being lived out on a daily basis.
When highly-collaborative teams are separated, making sure everyone is on the same page can get a little bit complicated leading to numerous check-in meetings throughout the day, a barrage of status updates, and sometimes the need for remote station monitoring. These actions waste time, decrease productivity, and can make employees feel like they always have someone looking over their shoulders. In the worst cases, it can lead to an “us” vs. “them” mentality that can be poisonous to a productive work environment (how to avoid).
When a team works in the same space, they work together. They feed off each other and the culture you’ve established. Having oversight into all aspects of your business allows your company to push forward together and get the job done.
Like oversight, organization is paramount to a high-functioning office.
Does Finance need insight from HR? Does Creative need input from Sales? Without an office these simple collaborations can turn into long email chains, missed phone calls and texts, wasted hours, and diminished productivity. By being in the same space, these organizational hurdles disappear, work speeds along, and employee satisfaction goes through the roof. Even something as potentially difficult as a last-minute RFP becomes a quick all-hands-on-deck meeting where decisions are made, tasks are delegated, and a plan is put into action. Such easy organization is only possible in an office space.
Aside from allowing you to easily put out fires, an office allows you to organize your staff to be their most productive every day. Maybe Sales needs a space to celebrate big wins, maybe Creative needs a quiet oasis to spin their wheels, maybe you need a room with a view to impress clients, whatever your company’s specific needs, your office space lets you organize everything to get the most out of everyone, every day.
Of course, the biggest boon that your office supplies is the sense of teamwork that develops among employees when they work together.
Companies are special places. The people we work with are the people we spend most of our time with, and that time is valuable. Not only from a business sense, though seamless collaboration can only improve the bottom line, but in a personal sense as well.
When we come together in one place to work toward a common goal, share the ups and downs, and cheer each other’s triumphs, we make connections that can only be made in person. No amount of emails or video conferences or phone calls will ever replace the collaborative engagement that comes to life working face-to-face in an office. Once those bonds are made, there’s no limit to what you can achieve together as a company.
An office is so much more than just four walls and a roof where work gets done. It’s a physical expression of your company culture, an oversight generator, an organizational tool, and a crucible where coworkers turn into lifelong friends who push each other, and the business, to greatness. Plus, sometimes there’s a ping pong table.
You really are where you work and it’s why your office space matters.