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Remember when casual Friday became a thing? It was after New Kids on the Block, but before we were Livin’ La Vida Loca. Back then, a business could bump internal stock with Hawaiian shirt day.

Thankfully, we’ve all grown up a bit.
 
In 2017, workplace engagement is less about dress code and more focused on topics swinging from flexible hours to saving the planet. It’s about how people feel about what they do, where they do it, and who they do it with. It’s called culture, and it’s a big deal.

And guess what, boss: great culture is what the workforce wants. About 67-percent of CEOs predict that in five years, workplace talent will focus more on corporate culture and values than they do on pay. Hiring is expensive; firing can be more. Retention is a huge priority, and smart companies are moving forward culture-first.

So if culture is king (it is) and employees crave it (they do), what next? Here are three starter steps to building a positive culture that heroes your businesses and keeps the good ones around.

Adopt a cause.
What does your company stand for? Are you all about your customers? Do you support charities? Write down what you care about. Developing a set of corporate values elevates your brand story, and employees who share these ideals are likely to work harder and longer for you.

Show the love.
Studies show millennials are willing to give up, on average, $7600 in salary every year in favor of a genuinely awesome work environment. It means environments that support a variety of work styles, serve great coffee, and invest in beautiful, functional spaces are winning. Big time.

Save the planet.
“Going green” isn’t a movement anymore; it’s table stakes. More than 90,000 business spaces globally have some level of LEED certification. Even if you’re not going for LEED gold, you can use energy-saving products, beef up office recycling, and eliminate purchases that come in crazy-level packaging.

There are tomes on the subject of culture building, of course. One of our favorites? “Change Your Space, Change Your Culture.” You can read excerpts on Amazon. Or visit one of our four showrooms to see it in action. It will be fun. We promise.
 

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Hey, boss. There's been a lot of digital 'ink' devoted to workplace wellness. For a while, it was about monitor resolution. Then it was about task chairs. But today, the conversation goes way beyond who sits on what and for how long. 

The International WELL Building Institute has created a movement to advance buildings that help people work, live, perform and feel their best. Essentially, they share how human hearts, minds and bodies (and by extension, businesses) can benefit by implementing certain specific workspace standards. 

We think that's a big deal. 

Achieving WELL certification is a highly specific and detailed process that can take months, start to finish. Here are seven WELL-inspired changes to improve your workplace. Like, now.  

(Why seven? Because that's how many we picked.) 

  • Eat an apple. Snacks at work sometimes define "lowest common denominator." If you're providing chips and chocolate, provide some fruit, too. Your mom was right about that. 

  • Stop the soda. Do the La Croix thing. A billion millennials can't be wrong. Or at least trade in 12-ounce soda cans for 7.5-ounce versions. 

  • Lighten up. Move workstations or soft seating near windows. Studies show daylight improves mood, and in turn, performance. Miniblinds? Take 'em down. (And let's be honest- miniblinds are tragic.) 

  • Move it. We've heard a lot about this. Folks need to get up from their chairs. Encourage mid-morning walks, or group trips up a flight of stairs. They'll do it if you do. 

  • Breathe air. No, seriously. Not every company can flip the switch on a brand-new HVAC, but EVERYONE can take a minute to step outside and smell... whatever's out there. 

  • Drink hydrogen and oxygen. Water, as we say at IOS, is life. Even at work. So drink up, people. Eight glasses a day. 

  • Talk to your humans. Gather your teams to talk about these and other small changes to improve their work lives. They probably have ideas too. 

 

Is making seven changes in a day going to set you on the path to WELL Certification? Well, no. But these seven small adjustments do two major things: One, they demonstrate a company cares about its people and two, they make people feel and perform better at work. Really. 

You may have heard that not one, not two, not three, but ALL FOUR of IOS' west coast showrooms are becoming WELL Certified workplaces. It's a detailed, comprehensive process, and no small feat to achieve. Come see us to learn more. 

We'll probably give you a tiny soda.