Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the last two years have seen a decade or more’s acceleration in the debate around the future of work. Flexible working will increase moving forward, and the role and nature of the office and workplaces more generally will, in turn, change. For the tech sector, companies will need to reconfigure their office space to best retain, create, and nurture their own company culture in the years ahead.
Culture is the lynchpin of all firms, but tech firms thrive more than others on providing unique workplaces and cultures that foster the workforce, especially those with a younger demographic.
What defines the culture of a company involves a myriad of things, but ultimately has people at its heart. It may sound a little too cliché but it is 100% true: a happy heart is a happy workplace. Over the past 18 months the pandemic has shifted company cultures, and in a sector that already struggled to retain its best people, ensuring that culture not only returns but is improved will be important.
The topic of staff attrition/attraction is inextricably linked to culture, and is even more poignant now - if another firm can offer a more thoughtful culture that promises flexibility and development, what is to stop that person from leaving?
Tech companies have long been pioneers in promoting flexible working, wellbeing and providing attractive perks. Unlike some other industries, the tech sector adapted swiftly to remote working and for some, it has opened the eyes of businesses and individuals alike as to what is the future of work. One size does not fit all, and as the return to the office gathers pace, tech firms must strike the right balance of hybrid working provision and ensure that the workplace is fit-for-purpose to support business goals, productivity, staff welfare and maintaining those core cultural aspirations.
Company culture exists whether it is intentionally created or not, and a culture left to its own devices that is bandaged with pool tables and Friday drinks is not sustainable in the long run. Company culture is nurtured by harnessing the voice of the workforce and providing a base where employees can grow within a business. An office’s location, design, and how it is used can help grow and develop company culture, rather than striving to define it.
In the months ahead, tech companies must consider how best to adapt their office space to support multiple factors of their desired, or existing, company culture. Offices must now not only be a place merely to work, but considerations around how they can impact an organisations strategic priorities, leadership styles, talent plan, operating model, and technology ambitions must all be considered in any businesses' strategic vision. Only by considering all these facets in tandem can tech companies best use their office space to grow their desired culture.