“Office culture” is a term you probably hear a lot. I know I do. If you Google “office culture” you’ll find a lot of articles like “Top 5 Ways to Create Office Culture” or “Surefire ways to Stifle Office Culture.” Great! But what is it? What is this nebulous thing that is often attached to pictures of people with Nerf guns or crazy hats?
We can start by defining “culture,” and luckily some smarty-pants already did it for us:
1. the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time
2. a particular society that has its own beliefs, ways of life, art, etc.
3. a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization (such as a business)
This third definition seems custom made for “office culture,” most likely because it was. The idea of office culture has become so prevalent that it is almost as important as a benefits package to some companies (and probably candidates).“We have a great company culture” is something you see on a lot of websites.
And having great company culture is great. I think we have it here at Staffing Robot. But as I was going through this thought-exercise of defining company culture, I realized that there isn’t any forced idea of what that culture is.
There wasn’t a thing I had to conform to so I felt comfortable once I started working here. The environment is full of creative people who are easy to work with in a shared, open space.
I once had a job that had a foosball table in the lobby, and I would dread the boss coming by and saying “Hey Robert, got time for a foosball game?” I hate foosball. My co-workers knew this. My boss did not know this, as he was separated from the rest of the company.
So about once a month, there I stood, fumbling around a foosball table surrounded by sci-fi cardboard cutouts. Participating in the touchstone of our company culture: foosball.
Don’t get me wrong — a lot of people love foosball. This isn’t a manifesto against bar games, as my shuffleboard game is strong. My point is that because my work environment didn’t naturally foster an open working environment, we were left doing things that felt like they were for show.
The foosball table was as much for clients as if was for us. “Hey, we work hard but we still know how to have fun!” CULTURE.
So I’m happy now that I can define our office culture by what we share and how we work; open, creative, and approachable.
How do you define your office culture? Is there something that you rally around? How do you think your office setup encourages or discourages company culture?
We’re really interested — so let us know in the comments below!