By Kali Hawlk
Company culture is usually defined and set by the leadership within the business. Their philosophies, beliefs and values establish the kind of environment that dominates in the workplace.
However, these aren't the only factors that go into developing company culture — individual managers, key players in the office and even the tools that employees use can have influence.
Office technology is one of those tools. As an IT manager, the decisions you make about technology purchasing can not only improve productivity but influence the culture of the organization. Here are some ways to get started.
Use Apps and Tools to Improve Communication
Email can feel overwhelming and hard to sort through. As a result, simple questions or quick communications get lost in crowded inboxes. Offering chat apps like Skype or Slack facilitates instant, open communication across the whole organization — even individuals working remotely.
Chat apps can help people communicate outside of meetings or set calls. They also give employees a quick way to share notes, questions or ideas, and keep everyone from getting buried in their email.
Keep Your Office Technology Collaborative
You can use cloud technology to foster a stronger sense of community between co-workers — especially between employees in different areas or departments. Storing files in the cloud with tools like Dropbox or Google Drive means employees can share and exchange information freely and even work in the same documents simultaneously.
This allows for more efficient collaboration, as team members don't need to manually find, share and send important files or documents before someone else can use them.
Support Devices That Enable Flexible Work Setups
Do you want to promote a culture that values flexibility? Standardizing on the right types of devices can make it possible for employees to easily work remotely or use flex-time. That includes things like laptops for use at home, along with smartphones and tablets, so employees can work at their normal capacity when away from the physical office.
This doesn't just benefit current employees. If the company is able to support team members working from anywhere, then the company can hire from anywhere, too. When you're no longer limited by location, you can simply hire the best talent, regardless of where they live.
Encourage Cost-Effective Professional Development
Supporting professional development helps create a culture that values skill building, education and advancement. However, sending employees to various programs and training can get costly. What is the IT manager's role here?
Office technology can make it easier — and cheaper — for your company to create a culture that emphasizes professional development. For example, the IT team could investigate and recommend an e-learning platform or online courses. You could even help employees enroll in free course platforms to learn specific skills. Try something like Coursera, which provides access to real university courses for free, or Alison, which offers a number of free courses from various sources.
Office technology can heavily influence company culture and help it evolve. By consciously choosing the kind of tech you want in the workplace, you can affect how the culture around your office changes and develops over time.