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What defines a good culture in the workplace?

Published on 3rd July 2018

I often see job ads or company profiles who promote an 'excellent work culture' but I find it interesting what actually defines a culture as good or in these cases, excellent.

On average, we spend around 35% of our waking hours at work. That is a huge 92,120 hours that we spend working and assuming that we don’t have the same job for our entire lives, we are going to experience working in a number of different environments and cultures. 

I would have to say that I am about halfway through my working life, so this evaluation may not come from a wealth of experience, but here is what I do know:

Work-life balance

The phrase, ‘work-life balance’ is a term that is thrown around like a tennis ball at the Australian Open but what is work-life balance? Too many people and many companies, this may mean different things such as: working from home, flexible hours to cater for outside commitments, no emails or work-related activities once the clock strikes 5.30pm on a weekday or not even thinking to engage in anything remotely work related on a weekend. With there being a number of different interpretations, it is important to establish what work-life balance means with your direct report. If you are both on the same page then it can mean exactly what you want it to mean.

Health

I find it hard to keep healthy so it’s always encouraging when you work somewhere that promotes keeping you healthy but at the end of the day, it is up to the individual. I see that a lot more workplaces have fresh fruit delivered and will usually encourage you to take part in team exercises or sports to create a healthy community. My advice would be to make sure that you stretch your legs and get some air at least every 3-4 hours. You can pack some trainers and go for a walk around the block during lunch. Either way, it is important to have a healthy balanced diet and to drink plenty of water in order to keep as healthy as possible whilst you are at work.

Ergonomics 

Most companies will have what’s called an “office ergonomics checklist” that you will spend time going over when you first begin working. This list encompasses a variety of different points to ensure that you are able to work comfortably and efficiently using products, systems and hardware in the office. These items include things such as lighting, noise, air, the positioning of your desk items and most importantly your posture. It can become so easy to forget to sit upright and ensure that your back is always supported because we spend so long sitting in our chairs we often slouch. If you are not happy with your current ergonomic environment then I would suggest getting in touch with your HR department. They will be able to assist you with ensuring your working environment is safe and allow you to work comfortably. 

We live the 21st century which means that majority of workplaces are aware of what a good culture is comprised of but it is also up to the individual to contribute and ensure that they keep their culture positive, encouraging and most importantly, safe.