There are several factors that contribute to making your office somewhere you want to go to everyday. While a lot of it is (hopefully) the work that you are doing, a significant part of it is also the company culture, the office environment, and the various perks that your workplace offers that make you feel valued. These factors are intermingled, but it’s important to not get them confused. Sometimes, companies can provide superficial perks in lieu of building out a robust and supportive culture. 

So, how can you spot a slew of perks versus a thoughtful company culture?? And how can you make sure that you’re landing at a company whose culture is going to jive with you? 

Here’s our take. 

Finding the Right Office Environment 

The office environment is the physical space that you are existing in every day. Sure, a flashy office space might not make or break your decision to accept a job, but it can certainly make your days more enjoyable. Having a spacious office with lots of natural light and plants has been shown to improve general office morale and employee happiness. It can also be an indication of the larger office culture–how much time and energy your company devotes to employee happiness. 

It’s also important to be aware of what kind of work environment is going to facilitate your success at the company. Do you absolutely loathe open plan office spaces? Or does having a cubicle or office make you feel too isolated? It’s good to get a sense of your own preferences so that you can keep this in mind when you’re considering a new role. 

What Perks to Look For 

Job perks are another important factor that you don’t want to overlook when searching for a new gig, but it’s important to focus on the right perks. 

While free snacks, Thirsty Thursdays, and ping pong tables in the office might sound like fun, these aren’t the kind of perks that will necessarily make you happy in the long run at your job.

Instead, look out for benefits like remote work flexibility, bonuses, time off for vacation or parental leave, wellness programs, or transportation and parking reimbursement programs. Look for perks that will add long-term value to your life while making it easier.

And again, the types of perks offered can give you an indication of the overall company culture. Are they trying to cultivate a fun “party” atmosphere at work? Or is it a more traditional office environment? The perks you’re offered can give you an indication, and it’s a good idea to keep in mind the things that are really important to you as that will go into the type of culture you will thrive in. 

Company Culture 

A company’s culture has much more to do with the tone set by the people running the company and who they choose to hire. 

When it comes down to it, culture has much more to do with the intrinsic values of your company and the people who work there. Your company’s approach to inclusion, the way it values its employees, their approach to problem-solving, development, and morale, etc. all play a part in a company’s overall culture. 

You may have read online or in the news about companies or startups with “toxic” and exclusive C-suite executives. Or you may have heard of companies making strides for equality or providing much-needed benefits for their employees. These are all symptoms of either unhealthy or healthy company cultures and it’s important to do your research on what a particular company is like before signing on.

Ideally, the hiring manager you work with will also be able to provide some general descriptions as to their company culture, because it is better for everyone to know upfront if it’s going to be a good fit (see: Questions You Should Always Ask in a Job Interview). It can also be helpful to make a list of things that are important to you in a company culture. 

At Scouted, we use some of these words to describe our partner companies’ cultures:

  • “Crunchy”
  • Fun
  • Meritocratic
  • Relaxed
  • Fast-paced
  • Formal
  • Fratty
  • Irreverent
  • Other
  • Preppy
  • Sophisticated / Classy
  • Structured
  • Traditional

What are a few that stand out to you?

It’s also a good idea to ask questions about promotions and if the company wants to encourage its employees to try out different roles and move up in the company (see: Why Companies Should Offer Employees Mentorships, Certifications, and Personal Growth Opportunities). 

Company culture can often be what makes or breaks a job for someone, because if you don’t mesh with your coworkers and the culture where you spend a large portion of your time, it’s unlikely you’ll want to stay very long. 

Office environment, company culture, and perks are major factors in employee satisfaction and retention, so it’s very important to consider all of these elements when searching for a new job. 

You want to work for a company that is considerate of its employees and hopes to provide you an enjoyable workplace with high morale so that you can do your best work. The type of company culture that you want could also change throughout your career so don’t be afraid to have an open mind when working somewhere new! Ask questions and find the company culture that is right for you!