Do you want to work on creating company culture at your workplace? Culture is like the personality of the company you work for, and it's usually set by founders and top leadership. But in reality, anyone can have a hand in changing company culture by taking even a few seemingly small steps that set an example around the office.
Here are four ways you can step up and make a change in your workplace as an office manager.
1. Know What You Want to Create
Influencing culture starts by identifying your desired outcomes. What kind of culture do you want to help create? What kind of culture is your organization striving to create? Once you're clear on the type of culture your organization is striving for, consider what core values are most important to you and your colleagues and what kind of behavior you want to see in the office.
Then, be a representative for those values and that behavior. You can work on creating company culture by setting the tone when you greet visitors as they arrive — and you can do the same for your co-workers. You can also make an impact through the way you answer and direct calls and assist anyone who needs your help in the office.
2. Communicate with Employees and Leadership
You can't have a positive impact if you don't share your vision. Keep lines of communication open and honest. That includes addressing what isn't great right now and acknowledging your desire to make a positive change.
Speak up and make suggestions when you see office equipment, furniture or supplies that may need to be changed, repaired or replaced. As the office manager, you know what equipment is used and how, and this gives you a powerful perspective. You can request specific equipment that would help your co-workers. This impacts how easily everyone in the office is able to do their job — and how they feel about it.
3. Make the Physical Space Reflect the Culture You Want
If your office space doesn't reflect the company's values or culture, then consider changing the look and feel of the main thoroughfares and common areas. You may not get a green light from leadership to completely clear out the office and start over, but you can decorate in specific ways that reinforce your mission or ensure small amenities are available.
You can place games and puzzles in the break room or lunch room if you want to promote a youthful, fun culture. For something more serious, consider the art you can include in hallways and shared spaces. Instead of games, you might want to provide stress relievers or even create a wellness room for co-workers to use when they need a quick break for relaxation or meditation.
Even something as simple as always stocking tissues the office supply closet can send a positive message to the workforce that the company cares about them and the little things. Subtle additions like this can do a lot to influence culture, especially when your budget or approval from leadership is limited.
4. Promote Community and Connections
As the office manager, you can change up the vibe of the office and encourage more community among co-workers by organizing events that bring everyone together. You can research and suggest team-building retreats or activities to management or create initiatives like themed, officewide lunches on Fridays.
Consider what employees like to do, what they value, and the kind of culture you want to help foster. Then brainstorm activities that you can host in the office that support some of these ideas or values.
If organizing events like these isn't possible, even if you take the responsibility for hosting them, then consider having more serious conversations with upper management around creating company culture. In the meantime, when it comes to influencing change, there may be no stronger way to directly do so than to set a good example with your own actions and behavior. Sometimes the first step is to serve as a role model for others in the office.