Finding a place to work that is right for you can be challenging. Your job is essentially your second home. It’s the place where, besides your actual home, you spend the most amount of time in your life. A good workplace culture can make your job a lot more comfortable, but it all depends on what you’re looking for in your work environment. Being stuck in a job that doesn’t make you feel satisfied can be both physically and emotionally draining.
So, how do you determine what kind of workplace culture is right for you? After you figure that out, how do you find a workplace that has the right culture to foster your creativity and drive? It’s not as difficult as you may think, and two of the key concepts are very simple. The first is asking “What makes you happy?”. The second, conversely, is asking “What makes you unhappy?”. By figuring this out, you will have a much easier time finding the workplace culture that’s right for you.
What are the Workplace Perks?
Having small perks in your workplace can make a big difference in how happy, and therefore, how productive you are at work. Most workplaces will provide coffee, which is nice, but almost mandatory at this point in time. What about a break room stocked with snacks, both healthy and more on the dessert side (for that afternoon sugar rush)? Maybe you’re the kind of person who appreciates work events where you can get to know your colleagues better? You can find out if management ever organizes fun things for the staff outside of corporate team building events (you can even ask this during a job interview). Knowing what a company gives back to you makes a big difference.
How do Employees Interact with each other?
One thing to observe in a workplace is how people who are already working there interact with one another and if they interact at all. This can include observing the office space. Is it an open concept, or is each desk closed off from the others? Does the company culture encourage conversation and sharing of ideas, or is it more inclined to promote individual work and success? Depending on how you feel about your own work, either of these could make a big difference in how you feel at your job. If you’re the kind of person who thrives in a social environment, the former may be the better choice. If you prefer to focus on your own achievements, then the latter might be a more comfortable career path.
How does the Culture Fit with your Lifestyle?
According to Lily Zhang, a Career Development Specialist at MIT, “When you’re thinking about company culture, it’s not just what will keep you happy at work—it’s also what will keep you happy at home.” In a lot of cases, no matter how much you try to separate the two, your work life can affect your home life. Let’s say that the company has a policy of no overtime, but you’re the kind of person who likes to stay until the work is done. That can affect the stress levels you might experience at home worrying about finishing a project on your own timeline. On the other hand, a CEO might prefer to meet with their employees after work, sharing ideas over drinks or food. If you have a family or obligations at home that affect your ability to be at these events, then you may miss out on fitting in with the company and sharing your own ideas.
What makes you feel motivated?
Being motivated at work is a tricky thing. If the environment is more relaxed and fun, you might feel motivated to do the work because your job keeps you happy. However, you might also be the kind of person who finds that the lack of pressure keeps you from working your hardest. In a workplace where a great amount of pressure is applied to the employees, you might find that getting work done is easier but comes at the cost of being stressed and taxed by the end of the workday, which can also affect your home life. In essence, finding a workplace that motivates you is about taking stock of the other factors mentioned above and figuring out what makes you the best employee you can be.
How much guidance are you looking for?
Are you the kind of person that wants to feel like they have a mentor showing you the way? Or are you the type of person that prefers to learn independently and figure out your own path to success? These are both acceptable ways to work, but they are, of course, entirely different. It’s easy to find out how much guidance you would be receiving from management by asking in an interview. If you’re the kind of person who wants to have someone showing you the way and teaching you, then look for a company that guides its employees with leadership. If you’re the kind of person who prefers to learn on your own, look for a company that offers learning opportunities like seminars, courses, and additional job training.
Remember to Ask These Questions
During the interview process, it’s standard for the interviewer to ask if you have any questions about the position. Do not be afraid to ask these questions about the workplace culture. If anything, it will show that you have an interest in the company and want to know more about it.
Remember – workplace culture determines your daily life and might make or break your mood. Choose wisely!