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The importance of physical environment

Why

Physical setting often communicates strong messages and is a crucial element of the creation of a workplace culture/climate.

What

Make the physical setting of the office as: 

  • Connected as possible: fewer walls, as few closed off spaces as possible, institute spaces that make it easy for people to see and speak to each other, position departments that often work with each other next to each other etc.
  • Inspiring and communicative as possible: make sure that office decoration sends a message that is in line with the purpose of the company (neat and orderly, funky and innovative, classy and high level etc.) and makes people feel at home (if this is in line with the organization’s culture and purpose).
How

This could be a good topic to reflect on with co-workers. Allow them to contribute to shaping their workspace.

When

When you feel that your physical setting is saying something different to what you want it to and is contrary to the culture/atmosphere you are seeking to create. A recent example of this was observed in a company that wanted more connection between people but where everyone sat with their doors to their offices closed. 

Skills and necessary training
Critical success factor

Inform people about your intentions if you make changes. Involve them and allow them to contribute to changes. Otherwise you risk implementing changes that create more frustration than positive results.

Possible workshop exercise