Company Culture Part 2: The Physical Elements - EmployeeConnect HRIS
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Company Culture Part 2: The Physical Elements


What words would you use to describe your office? Ergonomic, functional, practical? What about sensuous, pleasing, pleasurable?

They’re not typically words we’d ascribe to our offices. No, offices for the most part aren’t particularly exciting to the senses. In fact, they are a place where we are encouraged to use our senses sparingly, to complete tasks from the 9-5. Artificial light, sleek, functional desks. We do our jobs and then swiftly are expelled into the sensory world, treated as if we were simply whirring minds, dislocated from our bodies. So let’s unpack company culture from all different angles. The Physical. 


Divorced from the senses 

With this new “era of working”, we are seeing the shattering of traditional, old methods of working in favour of new ones that are more conductive to our sentience, that recognise we are constantly operating within the remit of five senses. 

For the remainder of this article, we are going to view this definition as operating within three pillars:


  • Physical: mastering the senses. 
  • Mental: mastering the mind.
  • Emotional: mastering the feels.

Great company culture, much like a good date, starts with the physical. Sight, smell, sound, touch govern our judgments and interactions. To deny their existence would leave you devoid from five potential portals persuasive. Whether you choose to work with them or not, they will alway. It is through their direct remit that we perceive our environment and later filter perceptions, actions, thoughts.



Before we get sensual, it’s necessary to consider the functionality of your office first. There will be some necessary “unsensuous” things to consider. Questions you might ask yourself: what exactly is it that you do? Do you need specialised equipment? How close is the printer to your technicians desk? 



  • Arrangements of desks.
  • Seating spaces.
  • Meeting desks and rooms.


Have you got appropriate amenities and facilities?

  • Seamless technology and connectivity.
  • Reliable IT infrastructure.
  • High-speed internet.
  • (there’s nothing sensuous about lagging internet connection) 
  • Access to necessary tools and software.
  • Conference room technology.
  • Video conferencing tools. 


Do you have a combination of collaborative and solitary workspaces that encourage productivity?

  • Provide quiet zones for solitary work.
  • Collaborative areas and private rooms.
  • Allow employees to choose environments that suit their needs and enhance productivity.

  Do you have communal areas that encourage informal interactions 

  • Kitchen and lounge spaces 


Now, with all the functional physical elements considered, you can get sensuous with it. Yes, sensuous. I’m going to use the term quite a bit, so you’ll have to get comfortable with it. Sensuous, because perhaps you forgot, you are a sophisticated being; endowed with five senses.


This is the most obvious and perhaps the most explicitly dominant. 

Appeal to sight by:

  • Reducing clutter on desks where possible
  • Arranging furniture in a unified manner.

Get sensual with it.

  • Break up the gloomy, lackluster and imbue the office space with greenery. Consider purchasing a company pot plant, creating a veggie patch (there is something pleasing about being amongst nature.)
  • Adorn the walls with artworks of your choice.
  • Introduce colours where you can. Studies show colours have a direct and correlative effect on our mood. 



Sound is vital in creating atmosphere, it can be delicately manipulated to lull workers into a state of ease, productivity. 

Appeal to sound by:

  • Soundproofing your office to banish obstructive noise. Sirens along with abrasive neighbours are certainly sensuous and can easily distract.
  • Limiting all noisey machines; no one wants to hear bleeping printers or humming consoles whilst working. 

Get sensual with it 

  • Install speakers and set up a company playlist depending on your preference. For creativity and productivity try the soft sounds of Bach or the smooth roll of a house Ibiza mix to lull workers into blissful and escapist thoughts. Try to steer away from too many lyrical heavy songs – leave it for your car ride home. 



I once stayed in a job longer than I thought simply because of their carefully curated tea selection. Nothing has office workers more aroused, out of their seats than the waft of cake from the communal kitchen. Keep your employees well-fed, well- nourished and they will reciprocate. 

Appeal to taste by: 

  • Regularly stocking the communal fridge. Extra points if you have one large enough to fit all the offices lunches. (or if you are a particularly deviant boss, enjoy watching your workers scramble in the morning to play tupperware tetris) 
  • Having an office pantry 
  • After work drinks
  • Organise catering or Friday 
  • Cake on birthdays 

Get sensual with it:

  • Be thoughtful with your tea selection; peppermint, earl-grey, how about cinnamon and hibiscus?
  • What fruit do you have in your fruit bowl? Is it the same selection of bananas and bruised apples or did you include kumquats, grapes, a kiwi fruit?
  • Go beyond the office staples in the fridge; include artisan bread, kombucha, oat milk?
  • Get a coffee machine and allow the waft of fresh roasting beans galvanise workers into action. 



A sense very rarely spoken about. Whether you are aware of it or not, your office already has its own quintessential smell. Chances are if you’re not aware of it, it’s not doing you any favours. Adding a new scent in the office will undoubtedly make things sensuous. 

Appeal to scent:

  • Hire cleaners regularly.
  • Include air freshener in the bathroom or where possible.

Get sensual with it.  

  • Incense
  • Diffusers
  • Hand soap



Now, this was a difficult one. What is touch? It’s tactility, it’s the body, it’s a warm hug. Appeal to touch by being thoughtful. Show your workers you care, be discerning about your choices. It may be superficial; but it’s in these small details that we do not speak of , yet deeply feel that create a lasting imprint on others and will have employers wanting to return or reminiscing. 

Appeal to touch by:

    • Be discerning with your choices. The feel of a pen, the texture of a page.
  • Which products do you use? Were they haphazardly selected from the supermarket on your lunch break or did you purchase that patchouli you recall from your favourite hotel
  • Choose quality 
  • Be personal 


These small seemingly insignificant details, show a certain discernment and implicitly tell your workers you care. All these have a sort of characteristic connection to your space, and your business that you don’t realise. Nothing evokes a memory like a scent. By appealing to the senses; sight, sound, scent, taste, touch, we are appealing to something that goes beyond our consciousness, stirring something deep in our mammalian drives. Now, go get sensuous! We return next week with part two, mental stimulation. 


For more relevant posts:

  1. A Guide to Coaching Employees in a Way That Works. 
  2. Identifying Leaders for the New Year.  
  3. Employee Recognition Revisited: Tips for a great Workforce. 
Matthew Dedes