Happy and Effective Working 

Number eight on Indeed’s list of why people change jobs is culture and workspace.  Finding out where and how you will work is particularly important before you accept the offer of a new job.  Why?  Because your productivity will be affected by how effectively you can perform your job.  For most of the workforce, workspace and the working environment significantly contribute towards productivity and efficiency whilst fulfilling work responsibilities. 

The pandemic resulted in a large portion of the workforce moving to a work from home environment.  Although many adapted to the change, others who did not have the option to work from home or the ability to establish themselves remotely, found themselves out of a job or choosing to find a company that still offered a workplace to go to.  Once businesses summoned the workforce back to the office, many employees requested to stay working remotely.  It still needs to be estimated how many employees did not return to the office because they were truly more productive at home, and how many have not returned because they prefer less accountability and socialization.  Either way, culture and workspace preferences became a primary reason for employees staying at a company or leaving it.

My employees often comment on how they can see me concentrating on the person or the work in front of me, and can see that I am always intently focused on the person I am speaking to or at the task I am doing.  To those in my office, I jokingly call it my “gift of tuning out”.  However, the ability to focus in this way did not come naturally to me, and I had to work on this skill when changes in my career meant my location of work changed from being out and about on jobsites, to working in office cubicles.  It became more important to be able to get through a large volume of work without compromising on detail.

If you are coming from a company where you are used to having a private office with the opportunity to close your door and work without distractions, and then you move to a workplace where you have to work in an open or shared space, it could alter your job performance temporarily or indefinitely.  Your performance will be heavily dependent on your ability to conform and adapt to different types of workplaces.

Environment is also a factor. 

As Indeed states, some work environments are more casual or social than others.  If you are a relater by nature and you enjoy working in companies where everyone is sociable, yet people tend to not socialize at all in your new workplace, you may find it unfulfilling even if the work itself is similar to what you did at your previous place of employment.  Everyone requires some personal insight into their co-workers’ lives to feel connected to them and build trust, yet it is not uncommon for people to work together every day and not know whatsoever about each other’s lives. 

Below is a DiSC Umbrella Graph. The items in the standard ‘Everything DiSC Assessment’ are each assigned to one of the eight DiSC scales: D, Di/iD, i, iS/Si, S, SC/CS, C, CD/DC, and these eight DiSC scales are the same for all applications.  The shape of the umbrella graph shows the scores for each of the eight DiSC scales.  A proprietary algorithm weighs the scores and assigns the most appropriate DiSC style and dot location.

DiSC Umbrella GraphsYou may notice a red line down the center of the circle and shading on both the left and right side of the line.  The shading on the right side indicates that a candidate is a more emotive communicator, and if their shading is more towards the iS/Si, they will typically require more collaboration in the workplace than others.

Below are a few situations that we have encountered over the years which are to do with culture and the workspace and how they may affect the success of candidates.  Being aware of examples like these can help match candidates’ preferences with your company culture and work environment.

  • Estimators in construction who enjoy collaborating and working in teams in order to gather information and assemble bid packages, may not do well in work environments where they have to work independently and are solely responsible for assembling bid packages, and vice versa.
  • Field-based personnel, who are used to having a jobsite trailer on their site, may struggle going to work for a company where they have to instead work on mobile devices in the field and are required to go to the main office to do reporting.
  • Personnel who are used to a private office, especially those who work in accounting and finance, may find it hard adapting to a cubicle or open floor plan environment.
  • Changes in technology, for example Mac software instead of Microsoft, Desktop vs Laptop/Tablet, Single monitor vs Dual Monitor, and having to learn more complex software, can adversely affect someone’s performance and their job overall if they do not choose to or have the ability to adapt.
  • Going from a collaborative company environment to an independent working environment, or going from a jovial workplace to a docile workplace, are extreme changes for most.

We always suggest that information such as a “day in the life” is covered during interviews.  A company tour during business hours, which involves touring a jobsite or office in person and meeting people within the company who do the job you are considering, is always an excellent way to gain insight on what might be different if you accept an opportunity with that company.

Have you ever heard a married couple say that they wish they had spent time with their in-laws and siblings before getting married because it would explain a lot?  The same is true in the workplace.  If you get to meet not only those at the top of the organizational chart who you will report to, but also the departmental personnel or at minimum get to observe them in action, you can help expose any false expectations that you may have formed in a prior discussion or interview.

Your workplace and environment matter.  Before saying “yes to the offer”, take a tour, meet the work family, and if the job is remote, find out how you all stay connected and informed.

Teamwork is what makes or breaks companies and projects.  Employees: are you able to identify the culture and environment you thrive best in when seeking a new opportunity?  Employers: do you offer candidates the opportunity to consider the working environment, or only the responsibilities of the job?

To Where and How You Work Happily and Effectively, 

Suzanne Breistol 


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