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Why the office is the nucleus of company culture

Designing a workspace that supports creativity, company culture and business needs can be as valuable as the end results.

office company culture

Tech companies are renowned for their ‘cool offices’ – from fully stocked kitchens and chillout zones, to revolving bookcases and decked out bars. At LivePerson, we’re thrilled to see our offices around the world repeatedly feature on cool office lists, but our offices are more than just cool for cool’s sake.

By 2020, creativity will be one of the top three skills required from employees, according to the World Economic Forum. Designing a workspace that supports creativity, company culture and business needs can be as valuable as the end results.

Here are a few guidelines to ensure the space you create optimises your company mojo and doesn’t hinder it.

A workspace doesn’t dictate culture, but it definitely affects it

In early 2010, LivePerson went through a rapid period of growth and was changing culturally. Our CEO and founder soon realised the design of our global workplaces – cubicles surrounded by private offices – was becoming a physical and mental barrier to living up to our company mission of “creating meaningful connections”.

An organisation needs to balance design with the nature of your business, from culture to core values. The trick is to turn everyone into an architect (even the finance team). Don’t get reactive feedback from staff about the space they want to work in – assign them official ownership of the design. Business leaders should also encourage team members to express their personalities in their workplace and give them space to personalise their environment. By doing this, the end result will reflect your culture.

Today employees require smart, collaborative and digitally rich environments to thrive. At LivePerson, all of our offices are open plan, while still supporting downtime and having the closed spaces required for different activities.

There’s an art to the seating chart

Collaboration is key to creativity. As such, creating a great office space must involve being mindful of which groups work together the most and seating them in close proximity.

At the same time, with re-shuffling and new joiners, it’s important to mix up the arrangement so that teams who don’t usually interact get to know one another.

Nuances about how teams work can only be learned by involving employees in the process. Otherwise, salespeople who are pitching all day will end up next to the legal team, who often require quiet and confidentiality.

At the end of the day, it’s all about connection

Ultimately, the focus should be on creating a relaxed workspace that fosters connections. In our Melbourne office, we have ‘town halls’ in a large meeting room that has bench seating, bean bags and cushions.

Whether it’s reimagining an office room as a garden or restructuring the way meetings are conducted by removing tables and sitting in a circle, office design should eliminate hierarchy and bring people together.

As technology gets smarter, our focus on creating social spaces allows our organisation to connect with the wider community. This includes running regular events across our offices globally, which are open for clients, universities, colleagues and friends to experience LivePerson.

More than 70% of Australian and New Zealand employees aren’t engaged at work. Engagement is a two-way street and companies that fall short will lose valuable employees to the competition. The good news is that companies can do a lot to design a workplace that people want to be in – physically and culturally.

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