If your business seems to be spinning its wheels, with hours of work gettingyou nowhere, your company culture may have something to do with it. Studies have shown that organizational culture has a direct impact on a worker's productivity, reducing absenteeism and dramatically improving morale. But so many different factors influence a company's overall culture, it's important that you understand how each of these office environments impacts worker productivity levels and absenteeism.

When employees are happy, they show up for work each day and work while they're there. Employee absenteeism, high turnover, and wasted time on activities like social media and real-life gossip cause businesses to lose money every day. While the monetary value may vary, it's important to understand the various factors that contribute to lowered productivity in the workplace and how those factors directly contribute to a loss of income for your company.

1.) Accountability vs. Micromanagement

Leaders usually arrive at a position thanks to years of hard work. Their talent and business smarts lead them to follow through on each task they tackle. Because of their ambition and motivation, it can often be very difficult for a leader to delegate tasks and trust team members to complete those tasks properly. Yet experts repeatedly have stressed the danger micromanagement poses to any business. It is often bestto let them do what you hired them for and then hold them accountable for mistakes.

If you've gone through the process of hiring capable employees, trained them, but you won't give them breathing room,here are a few ways you're putting your business at risk.

  • Leader Burnout--Whether you have one employee or 100, if you're micromanaging, you'reoperating a one-person business. As you continue to grow, you'll likely find you can't do things alone, which was probably why you added staff in the first place. "You've got to let go and give duties to other people," says startup consultant Adam Torkildson. "If you're doing even one employee's job, you're paying a salary for someone who isn't producing, which means you may as well toss that employee's salary out the window."
  • Failure to Grow--When a leader wastes time doing activities that could be handled by employees, he's taking away time he could be spending on growing his business. Instead of preparing agendas for the upcoming conference, for example, he could be out making connections in the community or winning over new clients.
  • High Turnover/Low Productivity--Studies have shown that micromanaged workers are less productive than those who are allowed to be accountable for their own work. "I hate to admit it but I've lost a few employeesthis way in the past," says Torkildson. "When employees feel as though they aren't in control of their own work environment, they're less likely to produce and more likely to seek work elsewhere."

2.) Privacy vs. Open Office

One hot-button topic in recent years has been the trend toward anopen-office environment in some workplaces. While studies have citedmany productivity challenges open-office workers face, there are benefits, as well. This environment actually works well where workers are encouraged to be mobile, working in different places throughout the day. This allows a worker to hole up in a private office when necessary, sit on a sofa when work lends itself to a more casual environment or gather with other employees to collaborate when necessary. Working from home also tends to be very accepted in open-offices.

As a leader, it's important that you pay attention to the studies and design your workplace accordingly. In certain situations, open offices are said to create stress, cause distractions, increase employee friction and encourage the spread of contagious illnesses--all factors that lead to lower productivity. Also, the money you may save in removing partitions and grouping employees more closely together may be lost ifyou take away employee privacy.

3.) Casual vs. Business Dress

While manyoffices have abandoned the business suit in favor of khakis and golf shirts, the casual workplace may have taken things a step too far. Some studies have shown that what a person is wearing can impact his or her alertness. This has leadsome to wonder if the jeans-and-t-shirt society being created in many companiesis leading to a decline in worker output.

However, to date there has not been a study making a direct link between clothing and a person's productivity. A staff of application developers may feel more comfortable holing up in an office for 10 hours a day wearing jeans. But in a legal office, where attorneys are expected to appear before clients, business professional wear may be in order.

As you're creating a workplaceculture, consider the preferences of the types of people you'll be employing. Creative people may want a freer, more casual environment while financial professionals may prefer a more structured environment. Also, don't be afraid to ask yourself if these dynamics can exist under one roof. If you set the tone, your employees will follow and productivity canincrease.

Published on: Aug 15, 2014