Feeling the Energy of the Culture in an Office

Earlier today I had the opportunity to spend some time at the Kabbage office in Atlanta and the energy was electric. As I entered, several people walked by smiling, and enjoying each others’ company. Walking in the kitchen, a number of people were sharing stories while exuding a warm vibe. Culture starts with the core values and permeates through all aspects of the business.

Here are a few thoughts on the energy of a culture in an office:

  • There’s no one right or wrong culture. Some are formal and some are laid back. Some are silly and some are serious. What matters is that everyone is aligned and buys into the core values.
  • Office environment, style, color, and layout either augment or detract from the culture. Visual cues matter.
  • First impressions, like the receptionist at the desk, set the tone.
  • Subtle things like the way people decorate their desks and leaving private office doors open or closed are important.

We’ve all walked into offices that have made us happier and offices that have made us more depressed. Energy of a culture in an office matters and it’s important to be intentional about building the best one for the startup.

What else? What are some more thoughts about the energy of the culture in an office?

3 thoughts on “Feeling the Energy of the Culture in an Office

  1. Its interesting that this post blog was written because I have attended the Atlanta Tech Village on several occasions and the culture has always been warm and energetic. But I was offended by a recent picture of ATV celebrating the 1,000 member milestone. The picture showed staff celebrating on the roof top and the one person of color in the picture was the security guard. I’m not saying that security or the security guard himself didn’t deserve to be included ( I was a security guard before) but when you have co-founders, developers, executives, etc it shows a lack of inclusion for minorities who are co-founders, developers, executives, etc who work at ATV. For those who are new to ATV or aren’t aware of all the great things happening there it can give the impression that the culture being fostered there lacks diversity and the best representation of people of color at ATV is the security. Like I have stated before there is nothing wrong with security but when celebrating an achievement such as membership & growth and including people of color in technology it should be a cultural representation of tech based talent on the creative and executive side.

  2. David, I couldn’t agree with you more about how office space plays such a vital role in a company’s culture. I’d be curious to know what responsibility you feel falls on the commercial real estate broker helping with finding a company’s office space. Is it the broker’s job to align space with culture, or is that on the company itself? My core believe is that office space should align with a company’s culture and inspire the business to grow. That is why we started Transcend, and we believe it is the broker’s job to help make this happen. Thoughts?

  3. I think there are a lot of things you can pick up walking through a workplace. Some exude the focused concentration of an classroom during an end of quarter final exam, some feel a group of runners poised at the starting gun only they are waiting to go home, some are filled with the loud banter of creative problem solving, others are full of conversation but only because everyone is on the phone. I think the way that work spaces are decorated and maintained, whether tools are left out because they are in active use or trash is strewn about because no one cares to pick it up, and whether people seem to move with a sense of purpose or are fearful or anxious, are all cues to the culture.

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