How to Know What Work Environment Is Best for You
When applying for a new role, it's important to consider whether your skill set lines up with the position's requirements. We call this 'job fit'. But it shouldn't stop there ‒ consider cultural fit too. By this, we mean compatibility between the work environment and your needs, comfortability and personality. A study by Glassdoor revealed that 77 per cent of adults would consider a company's culture before applying for a job there. And we highly encourage that you become part of that 77 per cent. Here are some things to consider when identifying what work environment is best for you. Think about cultural fit as you apply for a job Glassdoor's survey also revealed that 79 per cent of adults would consider a company's mission and purpose before applying for a role, and you should too. If you and the company are on the same page in that respect, you're likely to experience greater job satisfaction, better performance and an improved sense of well-being. Win-win. Consider what your ideal job looks like To identify what type of working environment best suits you, you must understand what your ideal workday looks like. Ask yourself the following questions: What values and missions am I looking for in a company? Are you looking for an ambitious organisation that's continually experimenting and innovating? How about an employer that focusses on giving back to the community or supporting the planet? Would I prefer to work in a startup or well-established organisation? Do you seek a role at a small company where you have the chance to build real foundations? Or, would you prefer to insert yourself in a well-established organisation where the structure and work processes are more stable? Would I prefer to work for a large or small company? Are you keen to work for a large company where you may only get to know the people in your department? Or, would you prefer a small company where you are likely to cross paths with everyone in the business? Would I prefer to work for an agency or in-house? Are you looking for a role in-house, where you can get to know the ins and outs of the company and sector, be devoted to its success and growth, and give its products and services the attention they demand? Or, does an agency role have more appeal, where you will work across multiple clients, projects and industries? What does the management structure look like? There are often two types of management structures in an organisation: flat and hierarchical. A flat structure usually has no middle managers and is short and wide. Communication flows in all directions, with just one or two levels of authority and responsibility. While there are more flexibility and more authority in your role, opportunities for progression may be limited. A hierarchical structure looks more like a pyramid, with directors at the top, scaling down to the base level where employees with less authority occupy the space. Communication flows from top to bottom, with multiple levels of authority and responsibility. While it might take longer to progress through the chain, there will often be a clear path in front of you. How does the company reward and value it’s employees? Glassdoor's survey revealed that over half of the 5,000 respondents said company culture is more important than salary when it comes to job satisfaction. A key element of this satisfaction comes from the way you are rewarded and valued. Consider whether the employer has any recognition programmes and how they invest in their employees. Think about whether they have decent health and welfare benefits or other work perks, such as travel credits, sabbaticals, flexitime or gym passes. And no, free tea and coffee don't cut it. What is the ideal office environment like? Are you looking for a relaxed or stuffy office space? Corporate business wear or a casual dress code? Think about what office environment would help you do your best work ‒ and avoid the opposite. What types of people do I like working with? Do you want to work with people you can get to know and treat like family, or would you rather keep your connections at work in the workplace and keep the focus on the job? Research the organisation to determine its culture There are plenty of ways to learn about an employer to determine its culture. Here are a handful of my favourites for before and during the interview: Research the company You'll get a good feel of the company culture by scanning through its website and social media pages. Often, employers that invest in social activities and perks for their staff will shout about it on Instagram, so don't be afraid to have a snoop. Ask questions during the interview The interview is not just a chance for prospective employers to review you. It's also your opportunity to review them in return. Ask questions that help you gauge the company culture. For example, you might ask about your interviewer's favourite thing about working there or how the company values its employees. Pay attention to the workspace During your interview, pay attention to the working environment. Take note of the office layout, employee attire, breakout spaces and the general vibe of the workspace. Final thoughts Identifying whether the work environment aligns with your career values is just as important as job fit. If you've previously worked in a place that you loved, it may be relatively easy to identify the right working environment for you. But if you haven't experienced this, don't worry. At the very least, you know what makes you unhappy at work, so you can work backwards by process of elimination to pinpoint the right company culture for you.