We've known it long before the media named it or even started talking about it: offfice culture is critically important. It influences employee wellbeing, affects loyalty, aids (or detracts from) collaboration, and is a make-it-or-break-it element in determining whether people choose to make the commute to work rather than opening their laptop at the local coffee shop.

The kind of vibe you feel when you walk into a space directly impacts those working there, sending a stronger message than any "about us" statement ever will. And now, we've got the numbers to prove it.

In a recent Omnibus survey conducted by turnstone, 515 small business owners and/or managers of companies with fewer than 100 employees were questioned about things like work environment, office culture and wellbeing. When asked the question, "What does culture mean to you?" responses included statements like:

  • "Atmosphere and ethics that drive my business"

  • "Attitude and ethos of the organization"

  • "…Everything from day-to-day processes to the "unwritten rules" that everyone knows and follows."

  • "Fidelity, respect, integrity, success"
  • "Good integrity and rapport among management and employees."


see the full survey results


Turnstone's Small Business Culture at Work Report revealed that while 9 in 10 respondents signaled the importance of culture to the success of their company, a full 7 in 10 are unsatisfied with the current state of their office culture. 

This statistic spells trouble for offices seeking to win top talent and retain the stars they already have. For many small companies without the deep pockets of their larger competitors, dynamic, flexible, authentic office culture is the trump card that young professionals seek over a plump paycheck. Management is taking note, learning that they can build a highly desirable culture in part by shelling out perks.

  • 51% of those surveyed actively encourage employees to use paid time off for vacation and holidays
  • 47% of entrepreneurs provide complimentary snacks and meals
  • 47% encourage employees to display personal items and share their non-work-related passions 
  • 43% offer in-house training and outside seminars for learning opportunities.
  • 41% of small and emerging companies offer employees the choice and flexibility to telecommute or work from home.

But perks alone do not translate into the kind of culture that has made startups and industry giants like Google, famous. Regardless of the size of their company, 80% of those surveyed indicate that the physical office space plays a prominent role in fostering vibrant office culture. Providing a natural gathering space for shared lunches, coffee breaks and celebrations brings people together and aids in building relationships. Designing fun spaces for video games or chess allows team members to relate on a more personal level, building trust that will translate into greater collaboration and improved teamwork.

This kind of culture produces benefits that extend beyond the individual to the larger team, and finally, to the company's bottom line. Turnstone's Small Business Culture at Work Report shows nearly 9 in 10 of those surveyed indicate that a positive, invigorating office culture helps employees to be more productive and creative, attracts and retains customers, attracts and retains talent, and spurs the company on to growth and profitability.

“After years of studying work environments across the country, we’ve found time and time again companies that place value on their physical space and champion employee wellbeing are more likely to have workers who are inspired, engaged, productive and loyal,” said Brian Shapland, General Manager of turnstone. “As our survey shows, entrepreneurs understand the critical role culture plays in their companies – because they know that their people are their greatest asset.”

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