Company culture has become something that both candidates and businesses are taking more seriously because of how important it is. Culture can be the way work is approached, the mission or goals of the company, how employees behave, and much more.
Yes, I do believe that all those things are important. However, I also think that the smaller details can have a large effect too.
Recently, I was discussing the dress code in the Levo League offices, which led me to think about my first job. In that position, I had to wear slacks, heels, a nice top (that could never be too trendy), and a blazer every day. To be frank, I felt quite unattractive! It might seem like a small thing, but walking out the door each morning feeling bad about my outfit affected my mood for the rest of the day. I never based my job selection on dress code, but while interviewing potential employers, I thought to myself “How great would it be to wear what they’re all wearing every day?”
Having switched from the finance industry to fashion, I’ve picked up on a few culture-related nuances that have made a big impact on me. These might matter to you too.
At first, I never would have guessed that where I worked would even begin to matter. But during my first few years in banking, I had a cubicle with high walls made of fake wood and gray–which gave me a lot of privacy. Then I got moved into a shared office. Upon switching workplaces, I noticed that everyone had an open desk setup with no partitions between coworkers. Although this made for a more collaborative environment, there were also some downfalls to the lack of privacy. If you have a preference, you’ll probably feel better in one layout over another, so take some time to look around when you’re interviewing and doing research on layouts.
Yes, just as I mentioned earlier, this helped me out. Do you prefer dressing up formally or casually? What allows you to work at your peak performance? And what do you want to be wearing during those 100-degree summer days when stuck on the subway? Another advantage to having a less formal dress code was that I could go straight from work to social activities. This small change has made it easier to manage work-life balance, which was a bonus.
Perks in the Office
Although not all companies can provide the same level of perks as Google, it’s still important to consider what benefits are being offered when accepting a job. A small product discount or free lunch might not seem like much, but it could make a big difference in your day-to-day life. It’s all a matter of opinion, but take some time to think about the benefits that are important to you (and don’t worry about the ones that aren’t).
It’s no secret that hard work is essential to any profession. But while you shouldn’t select a job based on the number of hours required, there are some other time-related factors worthy of your consideration.
Can you work from home when it’s required, or do you always need to be in the office? Are you staying late just for the sake of appearance or because it will make a difference? Are the hours set in stone, or can they be adjusted depending on your needs? One of my jobs had a more relaxed policy when it came to taking hour-long breaks during the work day. Of course, I never abused this system and only left when necessary, but it was nice knowing that my superiors didn’t disapprove of such behavior.
The energy in the office is one of those things that’s difficult to describe, but you’ll know it when you feel it. During your interview process, take some time to observe the overall tone and atmosphere. Is it upbeat? Serious? Silly? There’s no single correct answer for all companies, but there is a right answer for you personally. Consider what type of environment would allow your personality to thrive.
I hope this inspires you to consider aspects of company culture beyond the surface level. Although they may seem small, even the tiniest details can create huge waves.
What’s most important to you with the company culture? Tell us in the comments!