When starting a new company, it’s important to consider what you want your work culture to look like. Do you want an office of cubicle workers that never speak a word? Or do you want a 24/7 party that runs wild? If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you probably want something in the middle: a diligent, hard-working staff that knows when to let loose every once in awhile. The way you can achieve this company culture is by setting boundaries and being flexible in strategic ways. These are a few things you can do to set the right precedent for your staff.
Some jobs require staff to be present from 9-5 and not one minute more or less. If you have a position that can be flexible, it might be in your best interest to work with people to create a schedule that fits their lives. This might mean letting night owls start at noon, or early birds get going at 5 am. A busy parent might need a split shift, whereas some people might prefer working a few 12-hour days to have an extra day off. No matter how your staff likes to work, you might find that everyone does their best work when operating on their own schedule.
Have you ever gone into a meeting only to discover your boss has cooked up a “fun” icebreaker? In many workplaces, the activity will tie in with a new procedure or a corporate value. Instead of following in their footsteps, take the time to set aside an actual fun activity for your team that doesn’t have anything to do with work. You may lose a few minutes, but your staff will appreciate that you value their morale.
Although most companies struggle from a lack of flexibility, some businesses actually lack standard policies that make a workplace run effectively. This can include a late policy, sick day policy, and even a policy surrounding cell phone usage. Every company that hires staff should aim to have these policies in place, even if they are on the flexible side.
One final way offices need to be structured is with standard training that all new employees in the same position go through. Taking the time to develop a training curriculum might not be the most exciting job, but it will pay off long-term. New employees will then know exactly what they are supposed to do, which will make it even easier for them to fall into place quickly. If there is one area you should prioritize, it’s staff training.
Every office lies somewhere on the scale from structure to flexibility. Offices that are overly-structured may find that employees burn out quickly, while those that are too flexible might find that staff take advantage of the carefree attitude. Whether you’re just about to hire employees for the first time or you have hundreds of people on staff, look at the company culture you have and see if you should become more flexible or more structured.