Seeing is Believing: Why Physical Office Environments Should Reflect Corporate Culture


Research shows that 90 percent of what we perceive about our world is absorbed visually. And, visual perceptions greatly influence our overall impression of our surroundings. That’s why a company’s physical environment is so important to get right.

In creating an office environment, there is no “one size fits all.” Every company is different and every workforce is different. Authenticity is essential. A physical office space should reflect a company’s culture and employees’ needs. In turn, it can play an important role in employee engagement.

Two main factors encompass office design: the brand values and the company’s culture. For a company, it’s a case of “know thyself” but also “know your employees.” The chosen design should reflect the company’s image and help facilitate corporate goals.

A current trend in office design promotes open office plans with wide open vistas, collaborative work areas, and few enclosed spaces. This is how Indeed’s office is designed, for example. But it isn’t because we are trying to be trendy. It is because our corporate culture is open, collaborative and creative. Not even our CEO has an office at Indeed.

However, this type of design may not work for other types of organizations. Designing an office space based on the needs of the users and those of the organization is the best way to make sure that employees are engaged in the work and motivated to stay with the organization. Two big decisions are central to the use of space – individual spaces versus team spaces – and use of technology and how to best incorporate it to suit the needs of the company.

So, how do you create an environment that reflects your company’s culture?

●     Consider the need for individual vs. team spaces – This will guide the decision whether to enclose parts of the space for private spaces or to open entire floors.

●     Use daylight to largest advantage and choose colors carefully – In the past, the most coveted space in a company was an office with a window. Many studies have been done showing people are happiest when their space is lit by natural light.

●     Allow for personalization – This is a big one for retention. If employees are able to put their personal stamp on their work area (photos, awards etc.), studies show that overall satisfaction – with the job, with the environment and with life in general – goes up.

●     Make sure the corporate culture resonates throughout the space – Above all ensure that all design decisions help reinforce the corporate culture. While you can explain the culture to a job candidate, the physical space needs to tell the same story. The space should fairly shout that employees’ needs are understood and valued.



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