Work culture is a term that gets used a lot, but many people don’t fully understand its meaning and importance. However, culture at work plays a huge role in your teams, their wellbeing, and their success. An ideal work culture can help you build cohesive teams and reach new heights. 

At TeamBonding, we specialize in building bonds and relationships between people via team building. We have decades of experience helping teams and organizations come together, improve their work culture, and grow. In today’s blog, we’re going to focus on work culture. We’ll look at what work culture is, the different types, examples (good and bad), its impact, and how to improve culture at work. 

Understanding Work Culture

Let’s start off by looking at the basics—what is work culture and what does work culture mean? Work culture can be defined as the collection of beliefs, attitudes, values, and behaviors that create the atmosphere of a workplace. It’s the general “vibe” of the workplace, created by the employees and people in it.

Work culture can vary greatly from place to place. Some have a positive work culture that is people first, while others are toxic and drag everyone down. It all depends on the kind of culture that you and the rest of your organization create. 

company culture

As mentioned earlier, there are numerous things that create a work culture—beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviors, and more. These are some of the key factors that will influence what your workplace culture looks like. Basically, how you and your employees act on a daily basis will play a big role in determining your culture. 

These different dynamics are something you’ll need to focus on if you want to make a change. We’ll get into the specifics later, but keep in mind that these are key factors. 

Exploring Types of Work Culture

Before getting too deep, it’s important to mention that there are different types of work culture and corporate culture. There are toxic cultures, positive cultures, remote work culture, and more. Workplace culture isn’t one specific thing. Even amongst toxic or positive cultures, each one is unique. If you want to better understand your own culture and make a positive change, you’ll need to understand these different types of work culture.

Let’s start with a toxic work culture. As you’d expect, a toxic culture can drag everyone down, resulting in decreased productivity, efficiency, worse teamwork, and more. Thankfully, there are many signs you’re in a toxic work environment

For example, things like gossip, rumors, not being valued, bullying, and poor communication are all signs that your workplace is a toxic environment. If you notice those things in your workplace, then it’s probably time to make some changes. 

Shifting towards a positive workplace culture, it has the opposite effect; a positive culture can improve your workplace, increase productivity, better teamwork, and more. With a positive culture, your organization can be the best version of itself. 

So, what are the signs of a positive culture? Positive workplaces value everyone’s input, communicate well, are transparent, support their employees, have high morale, and have strong but supportive leadership. 

At the end of the day, every workplace is a little bit different. That said, these basic traits apply to most work cultures whether positive or negative. Keep an eye out for the signs and try to identify your own workplace culture. 

Examples of Work Culture Done Right

We could talk about theory all day long, but workplace culture is the kind of thing that is best shown in the real world. So let’s look at some good work culture examples so you can get a better idea of what a positive culture at work actually looks like. 

A great example of workplace culture is Warby Parker, an online maker and seller of glasses. So what makes their culture great? To start, they put their company culture first. Having a positive culture is a priority for the company, and they are always working on keeping it positive. 

Furthermore, they support that focus in numerous ways. They are constantly setting up fun events, launches, and more to keep the company and its employees focused on the future. These events also serve to give people something to look forward to. 

They also do little things to keep people connected, such as having all employees help clean break areas or sending random employees to lunch together. Little stuff like that can greatly impact culture, especially over time. 

The end result of all their efforts is a positive workplace culture. Their employees are proud to work for Warby Parker and excited about what is coming next. Employees support each other and help each other achieve their goals. 

But what about work culture examples for remote work? The internet and software company Buffer is a perfect example that shows remote work doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice company culture. 

Buffer is a fully remote company and was before COVID. Outside of the usual incentives like insurance and 401k matching, Buffer offers employees a whole suite of benefits—free company retreats, a free Macbook, a free Kindle (plus free books), free fitness tracker, and unlimited vacation time just to name a few. 

Besides the freebies though, Buffer places an emphasis on employee wellbeing and culture. They encourage employees to schedule quick meetings to catch-up with each other, encourage 1:1s with management, and put a focus on work-life balance. 

Though creating a positive workplace culture may seem difficult, these companies show that its possible. 

The Impact of Work Culture on Employee Well-being

We’ll move onto how to change work culture next, but let’s quickly talk about the connection between work culture and employee well-being. These two are closely related, and understanding the impact one has on the other is essential. 

Work culture directly impacts employee well-being. When work culture is positive, employee well-being will likely be high. And on the flip side, a negative culture often means poor employee well-being and a disconnected team. And as we know, well-being is directly tied to satisfaction, retention, and productivity. 

Mental health also plays a role here as well. Mental health and well-being, though similar, aren’t exactly the same. However, they are both heavily impacted by work culture. And like well-being, poor mental health can result in lower performance, retention, satisfaction, engagement, and more. 

Looking at things from the culture perspective, mental health can play a role as well. Mental health can shift a culture, positive or negative. If employees are feeling great, they are likely to spread those feelings and uplift the entire environment; if employees are feeling down, those feelings can drag down the entire environment. 

In conclusion, don’t underestimate the role that well-being plays in culture. Well-being is a key factor that can help define your culture, so spend some time focusing on employee well-being. 

How to Change and Improve Work Culture

With all the background out of the way, let’s talk about how to change work culture. It can seem like a monumental task, but it is possible with the right techniques and approach. So let’s take a look.

First, you need to recognize the need for change. Change can’t happen unless you identify what needs to change and why, so that’s the first step. To do this, you need to be able to pick out the signs of a struggling work culture. Here is a list of some of the biggest signs there’s an issue with your work culture:

  • Gossip and rumors.
  • Bullying.  
  • Management that doesn’t listen to employees. 
  • High turnover rate.
  • Overly competitive employees. 
  • Burn-out and poor mental health/wellbeing. 
  • Poor work-life balance. 
  • Poor communication/teams in silos.
  • Lack of trust.
  • Low morale. 

This isn’t a definitive list of all the signs of a poor workplace culture, but these are some of the most common ones. By knowing the signs, you can better identify problems in your culture and recognize the need for change. 

Strategies for Improving Culture at Work

To wrap things up, let’s talk about a few strategies you can use for improving culture at work. There are lots of ways to go about this, such as initiatives, changes in procedure, new rules, and more. 

For example, something as simple as regular employee check-ins could have a big impact on culture. Or something small like ending each meeting with an open floor where anyone can make a point, ask questions, etc, can make a difference. 

One of our favorite strategies though is with team building and targeted development (such as leadership development). Team building is a perfect way to bring your team together, encourage communication, increase morale, and target key areas for improvement—all while working towards a better culture. 

An event like Ice Sculpting can help your team build relationships, comradery, improve their communication, and have fun while creating a better workplace. Beat the Box is an event based around escape room-style challenges, it can help improve teamwork and leadership skills. And if your team is remote, an event like Virtual Office Party is a great way to have some fun and bring your team together to increase morale. 

 

Improving your culture at work can be difficult, but team building events like these can help make it possible while having fun with your team.

TeamBonding: Improve Your Work Culture

Work culture plays a key role in your business in numerous ways—retention, engagement, employee satisfaction, productivity, and innovation to name a few. And it’s even more important now than ever with employees increasingly valuing their wellbeing and workplace culture. 

If your workplace culture is struggling, make a change. Implement these strategies to drive creativity and encourage collaboration, creating a better and more productive workplace. And if you need help improving your culture, consider TeamBonding. We have over 20+ years of experience putting together corporate events, and we have a wide selection of events that can cover your needs. So take action today and improve your work culture by getting in touch with TeamBonding.

Anna Webber

Team Contributor

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