Children dream about growing up to be athletes, astronauts, dancers, artists, veterinarians, and firefighters, but many will find work that our youth couldn’t have imagined. Flying in a spaceship, a daily dose of adorable animals and a big truck with sirens become things of the past. Except they don’t. We carry with us notions about working at a place that captures our imaginations and presents possibilities through relevant cultural features.
And some workplaces can be jarring. The experience can be so far from our childhood conceptions that we immediately plan an exit. The fluorescent lights, the lack of consideration from managers, and the smothering of creativity quickly become a gray and gloomy struggle.
But there are companies that do meet our expectations, even if we aren’t traveling through space. A company’s culture is built into its workspace and work processes. Adopt these five cultural features to bridge the gap between a mundane workplace and one that meets the expectations of our childhood imaginations.
Few things are more destructive to a workplace culture than when managers behave as if their associates exist in another dimension. Great companies employ managers who encourage individual growth. The payoff is a team-oriented environment where the employee’s development provides a sense of possibility. Possibility is inspiration.
Opportunities to connect outside of work are more than just a good time. A great work culture reverberates when people care deeply about the company. Spending time together outside of work lets employees know that they are seen as people instead of figures on an overhead budget. Additionally, connecting with coworkers off the clock is a great way to build camaraderie and float ideas.
Another one of these great cultural features is that employees are less inhibited while working in engaging offices. Cold, colorless, cramped interiors with oppressive lighting create dungeon-like environments. While it might not be possible to add natural light to your company’s workspace, adding art rentals is an easy solution. IPaintMyMind provides art installations that transform otherwise lifeless workspaces into stimulating environments. Its elite art consulting services include access to a collection of more than 1,000 art pieces. The best part about it? IPaintMyMind is a nonprofit organization whose revenue is used to fund underserved Chicago communities.
It’s understandable that employers expect hard work. So help your staff help you with some weekly lunches and drinkable coffee. Providing sustenance to employees on a regular basis sends a message that says, “we know we are asking you for your maximum effort, so here is some fuel to get the job done.” Most people spend 5 days a week at work–about 33% of our non-sleeping hours. Often we go beyond that, working more than 40 hours a week. Employees want to make an impact, but a helping hand with the daily grind is much appreciated.
A meaningful amount of vacation time is a vital component of company culture. Today, millennials’ ages range from about 22 to 38. The last of a generation has entered adulthood burdened with student debt. Millennials are worse off financially than their parents were when they were that age. As a result, many millennials suffer from burnout. One way to avoid that exhaustion is real vacation time.
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