Work Environment Helps Create Company Culture

Posted on May 16th 2012

Work Environment Helps Create Company Culture

This past week I had the wonderful opportunity of working with PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors). They support their customers (members) who run dive centers and resorts around the world. I presented a customer service speech at their headquarters in Southern California. As I toured their offices I noticed several things. Their walls were painted blue, like the ocean. There were dozens and dozens of large pictures of their members SCUBA diving. They have a pool for their employees to learn and practice diving, or to just relax in during lunch or after work. A nice locker room allows their employees to work out and ride bikes during lunch, so they can shower and return to work clean and refreshed. Surprisingly, this is exactly what I expected to see when I visited their building.

Peter McMillan and Chuck Pass own Pedro’s Planet, an office supplyImage company that specializes in environmentally conscious office products. They are big into recycling for their customers. Even their office furniture reflects their culture. The desks are made out of recycled materials. Wouldn’t expect anything less from a company whose favorite holiday is Earth Day, the annual celebration that reminds us to be “green.”‘s offices are more traditional in that the employees work in cubicles. However, their culture is felt throughout the building. Maybe it is because their CEO and the rest of the executive team sit in cubicles, right in the middle of everyone else. Doesn’t that set the tone!

The common thread through these examples is that the environment the employees work in matches the culture. Just observing the way the employees interact gives you a sense of the culture. The physical environment accentuates the culture.

I walk into my lawyer’s office. The first thing I notice are conference rooms with big wood tables. Everyone is dressed in conservative business suits and dresses. It’s expected.

I visited an ad agency that specializes in social media. It was like walking onto a set of Star Wars.  Somehow the feeling of creativity was felt. Maybe it was the lighting.Or, maybe it was the colors of the carpet and the walls. The bottom line is it worked and it felt right.

You don’t need a pool or a locker room to accentuate your culture. You can put up some art work – or take some down. You can paint some walls – or maybe knock out a wall. The physical layout and design of workspace may not make your culture, but it does make a statement. Take advantage of the opportunity to make that statement, for both your employees and your customers.

Cartoon: Cartoonresource /Shutterstock



Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken is a customer experience expert and the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. He is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the speaking profession. Shep works with companies and organizations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees.
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This is a great article that outlines a good working environment in the medical industry, specifically among nurses. Nurses have one of the hardest jobs within the health care field; being one I can recognize and appreciate what this article stands for. 

I am a nurse and had one heck of time trying to manage my team. It sucked the life out of me and made my work environment really hostile at times. As silly as it sounds, I googled "nurse team leader hard times at work" and found this article. It's simple but I pulled a bullet point from it each month trying it implement the recommendation until I had used all of them... not a bad result. My work environment improved and I gained a lot of confidence as a leader!


Here is the link: