A is for Attitude: Creating a Positive Office Culture

As I stepped onto the elevator in my downtown high-rise building this morning, I overheard two colleagues greet each other with typical Monday morning banter. It went something like this:

Guy #1: Morning. How are you doing today?

Guy #2: I’m here. <Laughs> You?

Guy #1: Well, it’s Monday, so I could be better. <Laughs>

This type of chatter is pretty common in the elevator, but for some reason the comments struck me to today. It’s a new day. A New Year full of possibilities, but all the guy could say was that he was “here.”

I think this scenario is a perfect illustration of recent surveys results that shows that people are increasingly unhappy with their jobs. With the economic downturn, employees have gone without raises and it has become harder to change jobs to one that is more fulfilling.

With this in mind, it is more important than ever for business owners and leadership to focus on office culture. A positive work environment can go a long way towards engaging employees and increasing productivity.

Take a look at Google’s culture. Google has created a unique environment geared at catering to the creativity of its employees — from flexible work schedules and pets at work to free lunches and access to gym equipment, Google works hard to keep their staff members happy so they can produce killer apps.

Even though your business might not have the resources of Google, there are certainly ways you can make your workplace more enjoyable, if not fun! Here are some ideas for creating a positive office culture:

  • Listen. Perhaps the most important thing you can do is to listen to what’s important to your employees. Chances are, they have good suggestions for positive changes.
  • Be understanding. Sometimes a change in culture can be as simple as offering flexibility and understanding when employees are sick and need to take time out of the office.
  • Create flexibility. Flexible or compressed schedules can be great incentives for employees. These options can help employees save money and alleviate scheduling issues for employees.
  • Offer training. Give employees the training and tools they need to advance their skills and career goals. This shows that you value their personal and professional growth.
  • Reward success. When employees meet deadlines or come up with new initiatives, find ways to reward them for their work. Whether you create an appreciation program or simply thank them for a job well done, it will go a long way.
  • Celebrate. Whether it’s recognizing birthdays or celebrating holidays, small festivities can create collegiality.
  • Build your team. Team-building activities, such as volunteering or outdoor events, can be great ways to do some good in the community and help employees get to know each other better.
  • Smile! Having a positive attitude can set the tone for your office. If the leadership team is excited to come to work everyday, employees are more likely to follow suit.


How do you create a positive work environment at your office?

Photo credit: Rachel from Cupcakes Take the Cake

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Laura Click

Laura Click is brand strategist, speaker, podcaster and the founder of Blue Kite. Learn more about Laura and her work at Blue Kite.

3 replies on “A is for Attitude: Creating a Positive Office Culture”

Google has generated huge hype about their great environment. There has also been backlash against cute perks substituting for good pay, and against “benefits” designed to indenture people. Free lunch sounds good – until you want to leave the darn campus for lunch and realize you effectively take a pay cut to do so.

You make an excellent point, Barbara. There is certainly a flip side to this. I don’t think perks are a substitute for fair pay.

That said, it’s all about what’s important to the company and its employees. Are well-paid employees who work 80 hours a week any better off? Just playing devil’s advocate here. What do you think?

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