Now more than ever, workplace brand and culture go hand-in-hand. Business leaders often view these concepts as a one-or-the-other undertaking, but that's a mistake for one simple reason.  

Your company's workplace brand and culture are permanently linked. Your company culture can drive your brand, and your brand can reinforce the culture. One doesn't change without the other. They can only evolve together in the workplace. 

At Egyptian Workspace Partners, we believe a better brand and culture are key to building a more human workplace. It's also critical to employee satisfaction and fostering a welcoming work environment where people can thrive. 

In this article, we'll help you understand the connection between brand and culture. We'll also show you how to use your space to cultivate a culture, engage your workforce and, over time, build a brand. 

Workplace Brand and Culture: What's the Difference?

What is Brand? 

In the past, the connection between the workplace and its brand was often overlooked beyond a logo or a catchy tagline. People may talk about brand more than ever, but they're still confused as to how it correlates to their workplace culture.

Brand is more than just a logo plastered on the wall or a certain color of paint. It's no longer something you can just apply to the surface of an organization. Brand is who your organization is and most importantly, what others think of you. 

What is Culture? 

Culture is the environment that surrounds you at work all the time. It's how people act when no one is looking. To put it simply, culture is the way your organization gets things done. 

In many ways, culture is the personality of your business, except it encompasses an entire group of people instead of a single person. Culture consists of a collection of qualities that indicate what is important to an organization: 

  • Behaviors are visible. They are what you see people doing or hear them saying. Being on time for meetings is a behavior. 
  • Values are invisible. Transparency accountability are values. If an organization frequently schedules meetings after 5 pm, that's a sign they may not value personal time. 
  • Norms are unwritten rules of conduct. If the organizational norm is to gather in-person for conference calls, the colleague who routinely joins remotely is straying away from the norm.
  • Rituals are patterns of behavior with personal meaning. When an entire team wears the same color each Friday to show camaraderie, that's a ritual. 
  • Artifacts are physical objects and most prominent in the workplace itself. Historical company images in the lobby speak to tradition, while an open work area with no private offices sends a signal that collaboration is valued more than hierarchy. 

Culture is how you attract and retain talent by respecting their needs, supporting their dreams and sharing their values. When employees feel as though they fit in, they're naturally more likely to be happy, satisfied and productive at work. 

5 Ways to build a better brand and workplace culture

1. Offer a Palette of Place, Posture and Presence

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Workplace wellbeing is a bottom-line issue. In today's business world, it's more important than ever to create a holistic culture that prioritizes the physical, cognitive and emotional wellbeing of its employees. 

A workplace that offers a palette of place, posture and presence can help boost wellbeing. When employees have more choices, they have a sense of control that helps them feel more empowered, engaged and less stressed. 

To foster wellbeing, employees need an ecosystem of spaces to choose the right kind of setting for the work they need to do. They can choose where and how they want to work, based on the environment they need to be most successful. 

People also need a balance between sitting, standing and walking every day. They should have access to solutions that encourage all-day movement, like sit-stand desks or office seating that encourages active sitting

On top of that, employees need a variety of mixed-presence experiences in workplace destinations to augment interaction. That way, they can collaborate effectively, whether in-person or remotely, without compromising their wellbeing. 

Design Considerations 

  • Offer a variety of settings to help employees feel supported in their work
  • Provide easy-to-adjust furniture to fit a range of sizes, needs and preferences to promote all-day movement
  • Design for physical and emotional comfort through a variety of posture options, including lounge or standing height
  • Create owned and shared spaces that make use of vertical surfaces, so people can make work visible, connect with remote team members via videoconferencing or work alone 
  • Position key work areas close to windows and install glass partitions to increase the amount of natural light within your office

2. Create Spaces that cultivate a collaborative culture

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A great company culture results in a collaborative environment where employees can come together to solve problems and generate new ideas in ways that are truly creative and inspiring. 

Fortunately, the great thing about collaboration is that it can happen literally anywhere, whether it's a formal meeting room, around someone's desk or in a huddle space tucked around the corner. 

So, how exactly can you foster a collaborative culture that encourages growth and innovation? What can you offer to help someone better connect with their colleagues, their space and the world?

For starters, business leaders should embrace inspiring, high-performing spaces to support in-person and remote collaboration, especially in a post-COVID world where distributed workforces can't let distance be a barrier to effective teamwork. 

In addition, these collaborative spaces should provide easy access to power and integrated technology, like large-scale collaboration devices and videoconferencing solutions, to support a better work experience for everyone. 

Design Considerations 

  • Reduce or eliminate traditional private offices to make room for project team rooms, work cafes or informal collaboration spaces
  • Provide digital tools that support both local and virtual collaboration
  • Install videoconferencing solutions and collaboration tools onto all employee desktops, laptops and mobile devices
  • Offer modular furniture solutions like Steelcase Flex, so employees can collaborate on a whim and adjust their space to fit the activity 

3. Improve the work experience with workplace amenities

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Now more than ever, people are choosing where to work based on perks beyond financial rewards. They're not only thinking about their work and salary, but also all the other things that impact their daily life

As millennials and Gen Z workers become a larger percentage of today's workforce, organizations need to create a better employee experience that incentivizes younger workers to stay. 

Finding new ways to show your appreciation is crucial to creating a vibrant workplace culture. When you send the message that you trust your team and want to reward them for all their hard work, they're more likely to be highly engaged and productive

To show your employees how much you care, you can start by providing them with a welcoming, nurturing environment like a cafeteria to ensure they're well-fed, nourished and caffeinated. 

When people have access to healthy snack choices and a workplace that supports their holistic wellbeing, it can speak volumes about your company's brand and culture and help you attract and retain employees. 

Design Considerations 

  • Offer a variety of snacks and beverages so employees can recharge and find nourishment throughout the day 
  • Support wellbeing by providing amenities needed for people to prepare, bring and store their own food 
  • Promote a clean aesthetic and proper hygiene with stainless-steel dispensers
  • Nurture employee health and safety by providing easy access to first aid supplies 

4. Use digital signage to recognize And reward employees 

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Happy, engaged employees should go into work each day knowing what they do matters. If they're unable to see how their contributions make a difference, they're more likely to lose sight of their purpose

One of the best ways to create a successful workplace culture is to leverage your communication assets to create a clear, consistent message you can use to build a stronger, more connected team. 

Interactive digital signage can shape and direct a company's corporate culture. It can also help foster a positive workplace, emphasis who you are as a brand and create an engaged, informed workplace culture where people thrive. 

Organizations can even use digital signage to showcase examples of exemplary conduct and notable employee achievements, or highlight employees who have gone above and beyond. 

Design Considerations 

  • Install a room scheduling system like Steelcase Room Wizard or Crestron Room Scheduling and customize it to reflect your brand and culture
  • Choose a solution with a secure platform and a wide range of connectivity options like Crestron DigitalMedia to send content anywhere
  • Incorporate customized video walls to engage your audience and draw attention to employee achievements, company news and upcoming events 

5. Promote Personal Growth and Development with private spaces 

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Forward-thinking companies spend time thinking about and intentionally fostering employee growth and development. They encourage their people to ask questions, grow their expertise and seek ways to continue learning. 

Personal growth and development empower your employees to produce better results and meet their goals throughout the year. These opportunities also help them develop physically, mentally, spiritually and intellectually. 

When leaders invest in the personal development of their employees, they're investing in producing greatness. By providing these opportunities, you can attract new talent and keep your current employees motivated, productive and confident.  

There are several ways to encourage personal growth and development in the workplace. For example, a private space with basic amenities can help people schedule time for self-discovery and personal development into their workday. 

Design Considerations

  • Support day-to-day technology needs
  • Offer shared materials and worktools
  • Provide storage that allows the host to support different experiences 

Building your WorkplacE bRAND and CULTURE: hOW TO GET STARTED 

So, when you're getting ready to reimagine your workspace, which comes first: brand or culture? Honestly, the answer depends on your organizational needs are and what your employees need to be successful. 

That being said, it is absolutely essential that your brand and culture are deeply intertwined with each other. A powerful culture can nurture your brand by providing an environment in which it can thrive. 

Of course, it takes a lot of work to build your brand and culture. To get started, you need to assess who you are, determine your values, define where you want to be and decide how you want to get there over time. 

At the end of the day, it's about something bigger than brand and culture. It's about strengthening your team so they feel a sense of belonging and purpose to your company. And there's where great culture begins. 

Connect with a Workspace Partner (all three divisions)

Brett Baltz

Written by Brett Baltz