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What part does culture plays in creating productive workplaces?

What part does culture play in creating productive workplace environments?
2nd August 2017

What part does culture play in creating productive workplace environments?

Remote working, flexible hours, collaborative work spaces and technologies such as online conferencing are all supposed to make our working lives more productive. But is this enough? Does a workplace get the most out of its employees by simply introducing every tried and tested workplace initiative – even if its culture inhibits social cohesion and fresh thinking, and leads its employees to feel unloved?

Senior property and workplace professionals met at the Little Ship Club in the City of London in June to share ideas and best practice on the part culture plays in enhancing or hindering employee performance, and the importance of the physical workplace for enabling as well as changing behaviours.

Creating and curating a productive environment

With ever-improving technology, working remotely and flexibly is becoming easier. It also makes good commercial sense to free up costly floor space by reducing desk users. But what impact can these decisions have on the workplace culture, and ultimately, on productivity?

Our two-year research project on workplace experience: The science series, is looking at the link between working environments and commercial success. We’ve identified that as the number of knowledge workers increase, creating environments that harness this knowledge and enable creativity is vital to commercial success.

Also, it’s important to keep in mind that we are social species. Communication and relationships are important to most of us. And the social bonds that underpin successful businesses rely on a degree of physical proximity and interaction. Therefore, the physical environment has to work hard as a productivity tool to offer open, collaborative and innovative spaces. The workplace must also work hard to nurture a culture of communication, creativity and fresh thinking. This ultimately begins with the business’ leaders, filtering down and through employees.

The evidence from our panel debate on this topic, which is detailed in this white paper, suggests that the organisations that meet this challenge will be rewarded for their efforts in the form of more motivated, collaborative, innovative and productive teams.

"Giving employees a voice is critical – from opportunities to feed back on designs, furniture or how they like to use their workspaces, they want to feel part of the process."

Julia Lee, Interserve

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