Work Environment Can Sometimes Be An Illusion

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work environment

Work Environment Can Sometimes Be An Illusion

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What is the work environment where you work? Does the environment match the culture or is the environment only a symbol disguising what is really going on? Is the environment only an illusion?

Low unemployment rates make hiring practices more challenging. Depending on your sector, you may have decided that getting people on board can be tough. Keeping them on board is often equally challenging.

When the economy is strong and the unemployment rates are low, people are often able to work at the best organizations. In other words, if your organization is not shiny, glamorous, and exciting, it makes getting and keeping talent tougher.

Environment and Culture

People often confuse the work environment with workplace culture. They tend to go hand-in-hand, yet they are not the same thing.

Work environment has more to do with the physical facility. Is it modern, trendy, and inviting? Does it encourage motivation? Is it reflective of the values and beliefs shared within the organization culture?

Certainly, much of this depends on the type of organization. Heavy industrial is going to be different from healthcare and the financial sector is different from retail commerce or academia.

Mike Rowe starred in a hit TV series known as Dirty Jobs. A show that often highlighted tough, sometimes disgusting work assignments that most people would not choose to do.

One of Mike’s more popular quotes, “Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.” connects with the difference between environment and culture.

The most successful workplace cultures today do an excellent job of connecting values and beliefs with the work environment.

Work Environment

Building an environment is materialistic. It may involve capital, sometimes lots of it. Perhaps it connects with the location or history of the physical site. It is represented in the buildings, the furniture and fixtures, and other amenities.

One of the best ways to move towards an organization culture that you desire is to have an environment that supports it. It is always easier to flow with the environment instead of against it.

On the other hand, building the environment and assuming you’ve done the work required for culture is only an illusion.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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