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Is your office sending the right message about your company’s mission?

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Recently, Strategic Development Worldwide sponsored The Daily Transcript’s Small Business executive roundtable. It was, as usual, an interesting event and there were quite a few things said that would catch attention.

One insightful comment was made by Jose Marquez, principal at GM Business Interiors. Marquez said the approach his business takes is to look at the culture and goals of an organization and build the office space using that information. This may seem obvious at first, but when you think about it, how many offices have floor plans that do not provide employees with the ability to get the job done in the manner that is in tune with their company goals? Is it possible that the company culture is not well-aligned with the goals of the organization?

Many of us have gone through the experience of moving into a new office or having an office remodeled. The emphasis is how to design the floor plan to supply working stations for the correct number of people and provide some private office space as well. Conference rooms are typically included, based on the types of meetings the business requires.

How much thought was actually given to how people are expected to relate to one another in a productive work environment? It can be as simple as the height of the cubicle walls, or whether the team working together has cubicle entrances that face each other. Are the offices positioned to supervise employees, or to give them access to their managers? Are conference rooms furnished and readily available for group work sessions as well as executive meetings? Is the break room set up to actually give the employees a break? When a new employee starts with the company, what does the physical office space tell them?

There are many ways that a company’s mission and goals are articulated within its office design. Signs and plaques on the wall won’t result in the desired shared direction if management doesn’t understand the subliminal messages they are sending.

Understanding how to motivate employees -- and providing the road signs that show the shortest route to the company’s goals -- is a major portion of any manager’s job. Everything mangers do should somehow, even remotely, point their employees in the right direction. If managers can’t make that connection on a daily basis, it is the responsibility of top executives to lead the way.

Focused messages regarding company goals are transmitted in a variety of ways. What is important to management on a daily basis should be part of that message.

Managers who are not readily available to those they supervise become a roadblock to getting things done. What is important to the company should be reflected in the way managers relate to their employees, their executive team, their peers and their job. And, according to Marquez, it starts with something as unobtrusive as the cubicle walls.

Submitted by Vicky Zillioux for Strategic Development Worldwide.

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