Using Workplace to Shape Corporate Culture

  January 20, 2010

Facility managers are not always asked to be involved when an organization decides to change some aspect of the corporate culture. But that doesn't mean that a facility executive doesn't have a role to play in those efforts.

The first step is to be in tune with the kind of culture that the organization wants to develop. The goal may be to increase collaboration. Or it may be to encourage workforce mobility. Or to attract a certain type of worker. Or to enable the corporation to respond quickly to changes in the market.

Regardless of the goal, the physical work environment plays an important role in shaping the corporate culture. Over the past decade, many organizations have experimented with alternative workplace arrangements. Changes in IT technology and in systems furniture design have supported new approaches to the workplace. It's useful for facility managers to be aware of innovations that might apply to their own organizations, should a culture-change effort begin.

Facility managers who keep up with workplace-design developments are also better positioned to see opportunities to implement workspace innovations. For example, a division might have changed its work processes, but failed to adjust the physical environment to support those changes. Or it might have a high percentage of workers who are often out of the office. A pilot project involving a new workplace design might help a business unit improve performance, while demonstrating that the facility manager can help meet organizational goals.


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