Let’s face it, we spend the majority of our conscious lives at work, so whatever we choose as a career needs to be meaningful. And one aspect, which helps to make for a more engaging career, is the culture at your workplace. Culture is important, it ensures employees are given the room to grow and reach their full potential, in addition to being a place people are excited to be a part of. To be truly creative, it’s equally important to think about the environment you surround yourself with, as it is to think about your internal creativity.
Ask any creative person out there, ‘why is it so hard to be creative,’, and you will receive a multitude of answers – I don’t have a muse, no one around me is creative, my iPod is broken so I can’t listen to music, I sit in a cubicle all day and never see the outdoors. When it’s your job to develop a creative campaign, it can be difficult to be creative when all you see are three beige cubicle walls all day. It’s only when you can get outside, or retreat into a good book, when you can finally get inspired and get your creative juices flowing.
The juice is flowing, and we ain’t talking the apple variety
Companies are working harder to create culture, which help to boost the creativity of their employees. They understand the more creative an employee is, the better the final product will be. As such, companies now have everything from a room full of video game systems, to game rooms with pool and foosball tables. Companies are creating work culture in any way possible, like Zynga hosts weekly keg parties to help foster creativity within their employees. When in doubt, alcohol seems nearly fail-proof.
Some companies help improve creativity by simply loosening their rules around the typical office dress code. Uniforms and stuffy business attire day in and day out tend to stifle creativity, while those which allow for more self-expression enhance creativity. Think about it, if you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing, you have that much more brain power to focus on creating something wonderful. You’re never going to find anything at a lawyer’s office other than suits and ties, but at start-up companies where fresh ideas are always needed, you’re more likely to find backwards baseball hats, and cool hoodies.
Flip your cap backwards, and embrace the culture
Sometimes, having an awesome work culture results in a powerful piece of work. Valve Software, which started as a tiny company with a dream to create an amazing video game, gave their team the tools to thrive on their own. To further incentivize the small team, the CEO, Gabe Newell, promised that if their game became the number one seller, he would take them all on vacation. After a year of hard work, the game was initially deemed ‘not good enough’. The whole team rallied together (still wanting that vacation!) and started from scratch. They worked for another year on a little game called, Half-Life, and ended up with a number one seller, and a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Some companies consistently rank as top places to work, and often it’s because of the work culture. Great examples of companies include, Twitter, Southwest, REI, and are rated as such because of the training they provide their employees, great perks and benefits, pride and culture, and values and goals, amongst other things.
People aren’t just motivated by their paychecks – they’re motivated by empowerment in their workplace
You don’t have to go to a huge Fortune 500 company to find great culture. Often times, smaller companies have the best culture, and you can more than likely find these companies in your own backyard. My Loud Speaker for example! We’re a company run by Millennials, with an open concept, which fosters a lot of creative brainstorming. We have gaggles of group activities like poker nights, trivia nights at the local watering holes, and bowling. Sure, a few people have lost a few dollars to poker and been shamed on the bowling lane, but it creates a great atmosphere and a real sense of teamwork that goes beyond the office walls. Everyone can feel safe to pitch their ideas and work hard for their team because it’s encouraged that we all interact with one another, create with one another and play together.
Diversity is an important role in balancing out work culture, since one thing about anything being consumed, is that it’s consumed by a wide variety of people. If the end user comes from diverse backgrounds and cultures, why wouldn’t your work culture also support that diversity? Google does a fantastic job of being very aware of culture and diversity, and has thrived because of it, even developing employee resource groups. Our office is a veritable melting pot, it’s so multi-cultural in here it practically feels like the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disneyland. Embracing diversity, everyone within your company will be exposed to something more than just the knowledge they entered with, and can inject that knowledge into your product, making it bigger and better. And more well rounded.
If you’re looking for that awesome culture, but don’t want the pressures of a big company, don’t forget about the guys right next door. Sometimes, they’re the ones that have exactly what you’re looking for.
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