As told by Steve Miller, Executive Creative Director at FUSE Create
I am a firm believer that it’s the culture of an agency that defines its creative product. But “culture” is a loosely defined term when it comes to the workplace. To many, culture means the “office,” or better put, the office ‘vibe.’ Parties, Friday beer cart, brightly painted walls, foosball tables – at least in the advertising industry, these tend to be the defining characteristics of an office culture. But culture is so much more than that, and the definition, so much simpler.
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What is Culture?
Webster defines ‘culture’ in several ways, but the one that best defines it for the workplace is this:
“A set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an…organization.”Webster’s Dictionary
Y’see, culture isn’t physical. It can manifest itself in the physical (e.g. the office), but it’s not established there. It’s the people who define the culture. Not the office. Not the foosball. Nor the brightly painted walls. It’s how you work together. How you mutually measure success. How you treat each other. What you believe in collectively. And what you’re all doing it for.
Culture Goes Beyond Four Walls
During this pandemic, there was an office tower exodus. But for those companies who’ve come to define their culture by its people (whether you WFH or the office), that office ‘vibe’ lived on. Now, that’s not to say face-to-face human interaction doesn’t have a hugely positive impact on morale, efficiency, brainstorming and of course, those office parties. But those same culture-defining attitudes, values, behaviours and beliefs can be shared across ZOOM calls, over online Jeopardy night, with a surprise lunch delivery, or by way of flowers for a co-worker. It’s not the office that spurs camaraderie, it’s the people. When we do eventually go back to the office, the employees at FUSE Create will be going back to a new space, and a new model.
Our New (Hybrid) Space
When it comes to our new office, we want that space to feel like a home away from home – for both clients and staff. When you’re burning the midnight oil, the last thing you want people to think is that they’re at an office. As my Danish mother would say, we’re making our new space hygge – cozy, comfortable, warm – much like the spaces we’ve all worked in for the past 18 months. This means more couches than desks. More chairs without pneumatic up-and-down levers. Décor that is locally sourced from the community of artists and artisans we share our postal code with. And we can’t forget TVs with cameras installed as we move to a hybrid model of working – there’s no going back now. We measure our creative product against the pride we feel in it, and the same goes for our space.
As you think about the culture within your own organization, remember it’s the people who define it. Those shared attitudes, values, goals, and behaviours is what determines how everyone works together, plays togethers, gets through the tough times together, and succeeds together. And as we move to a hybrid model of working, be it flexible days or people permanently working from home, those brightly painted walls and foosball tables become less a part of the culture, a more a part of the past.
Feature Image: Fuse Creative