Companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon have set up alternative work cultures, with food and exercise on site. They are regularly named some of the best places to work by their employees, and success gurus everywhere study their methods. So what can small businesses learn from these uber-successful tech giants? And how can they implement similar ideas without breaking the bank? Here's what you need to know:
Work culture matters:
According to the World Health Organization, we spend approximately one third of our lives at work. You don't have to be a genius to know that's a lot of time. Not surprisingly, companies that care about keeping employees happy during all those hours tend to do better. Happy employees are more productive, stick around longer, and benefit the bottom line more. Fortunately, you don't have to be the CEO of Google or Facebook to make your business a great place to work.
Listening to data:
Major tech companies are serious about using data and doing what works. So don't be fooled into thinking that they've created whimsical workplaces with plenty of perks just there for the heck of it. Every lasting workplace innovation at these places is backed by data showing it works. Smaller companies can follow suit by collecting both qualitative and quantitative data on what workplace changes employees want, and which ones actually work in the long run. So if you want to improve the culture of your business, don't leave it up to chance. Implement new ideas systematically, and pay attention to the data to find out whether they're worth it.
Ideas to steal:
Design the space: The design of a workplace can enhance mood, collaboration, and even boost productivity, so don't leave it up to chance. But don't assume that what works for one successful company will be right for yours, either. Arrange your space so that it supports the type of work that needs to get done.
- Nourish your workers: Having food available (for free or for purchase) doesn't just provide fuel for getting things done. If paired with common eating spaces it can also facilitate collaboration, new ideas, bonding; and promote a wonderful workplace culture.
- Encourage fun: Companies like Google take playtime seriously, providing actual toys like Legos and PacMan as well as many tools and spaces to encourage creativity and innovation. Encourage your employees to have fun at work, and consider the role of fun in your trainings, meetings and work tasks.
Bottom line: It's not about the free snacks.
Silicon Valley workplace culture often makes headlines because of its unusual policies or perks, but that's not actually what makes it great. Both employers and employees at these companies would tell you that what matters most is the principles behind the policies. Take steps to show your employees that their health and happiness at work matters to you, and you will have the makings of a great workplace culture, no matter what your resources.
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