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Eat, Drink and be Merry: The New Workplace

Posted on October 27, 2015, at 7:45 p.m.
by Hayley Kilgo and Tatum Roessler.

It’s no surprise today that our generation has shifted from a traditional workplace culture to a more modern one. The normal 8-5 Monday through Friday work hours have been replaced with more flexible and shorter work hours. In addition, companies are providing their employees with free food and gym memberships and even allowing them to bring their pets to the workplace.

Offices are no longer stuffy and boring but now are sleek and modern. It’s a new way to work backed by millennials who are changing the workplace every day.

What is workplace culture?
Josh Bersin in a Forbes article defines culture as the “set of behaviors, values, artifacts, reward systems, and rituals that make up your organization.” When a company has a good workplace culture, it is shown through the employees’ “behavior, enthusiasm, and the space itself,” Bersin noted.

Waggener Edstrom Communications, an international public relations firm, offers a unique culture for its employees.

“There are so many words that come to mind when I think about the culture at WE,” Courtney Gehring, a WE Communications employee, said. “If I have to sum it up in one word, it would be ‘open.’ I have often said it is an open, no-judgment work space. People are able to think creatively uninhibited by judgments or harsh repercussions. We take our work seriously, but we also leave time for fun, bold thinking and collaboration.”

Selecting the path for success
When selecting a career today, employees typically don’t want to settle for a job that makes them unhappy; instead, people are now making organizational culture their top priority when job searching. The companies who have the unique offices with kitchens, laid-back dress code, unlimited vacation time and other perks are the ones who are outranking other companies.

Social websites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Indeed have been behind showcasing companies across the world and providing people with the public information they need to know before applying for a job at those companies. By providing this information, employees can see if their personality will mesh well with the rest of the employees and their culture.

Employees want to feel secure and know they have a set career path and job support from their employers at work. Annie Taylor, account executive at Indeed, enjoys the security and path her workplace offers.

“My favorite thing is the set-in-stone career path at Indeed. My director wants me to succeed and has helped me grow my career at Indeed. My goal is to be on the national sales team and sell Indeed to Fortune 1000 companies in the very near future,” Taylor said.

Who’s the boss?
The corner office no longer exists in more modern offices. Today, companies who want to provide a less structured work environment often opt for open floor plans with no particular seating arrangements based on titles. While there is still a clear-cut path to the top, the feel of office hierarchy is being eliminated in order to facilitate an open flow of communication and collaboration among co-workers.

Indeed is a company that encourages an open office setting where every employee at every level can work together.

“Everyone is out in the open, bouncing ideas off each other and learning from each other. Our CEO doesn’t even have an office. Indeed doesn’t really believe in hierarchy,” Taylor said.

Photo courtesy of Veerle Pieters (Flickr)
Photo courtesy of Veerle Pieters (Flickr)

Google is another company that encourages transparency and for the employees to voice their opinions. The leadership team at Google believes giving the people true influence in how the business is run is important.

According to Fast Company, Google is a democracy. “Employees are given extraordinary access to company information, along with the trust that they’ll always use it for good. When the firm formally surveys its workers each year, not only do 90 percent of them participate, but they ultimate[sic] see not just their own group’s results, they see everyone else’s (though privacy is protected). And when the firm takes action on the feedback employees collectively provide, they share all of that too.”

Taking care of their own
Many companies include perks to help keep their employees motivated and engaged. Potential employees want to choose a job they love and enjoy coming into every day instead of dreading it. Certain businesses are now starting to offer amenities and benefits such as unlimited personal time off, lax dress code, in-office snacks and beer on tap.

Indeed ensures their employees are happy. The company provides yoga and workout classes once a week at a local studio for its employees, and it provides a variety of other in-office amenities for employees.

“[Indeed offers] free snacks and drinks, and we have free catered lunch on Wednesdays and breakfast Fridays. We also had Indeed wellness day last week where we got massages and manicures,” Taylor said.

When businesses have happy employees, chances are more work will be done and the overall atmosphere will be better. With all these amenities, one may think productivity in the workplace is not as strong as others, but that is far from the truth, as this only actually helps the employees.

Gehring agrees that these added benefits make a difference in the workplace.

“When you are given these incentives, it shows that company truly cares about you. They want you to feel comfortable in your place of work and reward you for the work you do. It is a way of showing appreciation,” Gehring said.

Happy workplace, happy employees

Photo courtesy of PROAli Eminov (Flickr)
Photo courtesy of PROAli Eminov (Flickr)

With thousands of millennials entering the workforce every year, workplace culture is changing to meet their needs as employees seek out a company that fits them and employers strive to make the workplace feel less like work.

Endless snacks, lax dress code, open office setting and job security are all sought-after features in the workplace today. These in-office bonuses are what keep employees happy.

“The free snacks, food, cold brew and workout classes all have a positive effect on work environment. Tech companies are doing a great job of having great incentives to keep employees happy and ultimately keep them at the company longer. This also helps my productivity because I am so passionate about Indeed,” Taylor said.

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