What is Workplace Culture?
Work culture is the workplace environment’s collective values, beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes. It may include the physical environment, technology, and organizational structure. An organization’s culture is shaped by the leadership team and their choices in how they engage with their employees. While applying for a job, most candidates look for a healthy work atmosphere. Since a healthy workplace culture creates an environment where employees feel respected, valued, and understood.
For every employee, connecting with a place that continuously fosters growth is beneficial, which is possible only in healthy work environments. To understand why informal work culture is better than formal work culture, we must first understand both separately.
Formal Workplace Culture:
Also termed organizational culture, this culture is purposefully planted in the very core of an organization. A formal work culture is an environment where some rules and regulations have to be followed by everyone in the organization. It is based on a hierarchy structure, with authority vested in the top management level and trickling down to the lower levels. Formal work culture focuses on the smooth functioning of the organization. It encourages employees to be professional and maintain a certain level of decorum both in the workplace and outside of it. This ensures that the company’s objectives are met efficiently while upholding its standards.
Informal Workplace Culture:
It’s an environment that encourages collaboration, open communication, and non-hierarchical relationships between individuals. In the workplace, informal work culture is a type of organizational culture that is created in a less structured and formalized environment. It is characterized by less hierarchical structures and greater individual autonomy. This environment is more relaxed and open, promoting collaboration and freedom. It includes flexible schedules and open office plans that encourage collaboration and communication. This culture is great for creating a positive and creative employee working environment.
Why Is Informal Workspace Culture Better?
The modern workplace is a dynamic and evolving environment. One of today’s biggest challenges is finding the right balance between a formal and informal work culture. The work culture is an integral part of a successful business. The traditional formal workspace culture has been around for a while, but in recent years, many companies have adopted informal work cultures intending to foster creativity and innovation. We can understand it by following key points-
#1. Quick Decision Making – A formal work culture, while highly structured and efficient, can lead to a lack of engagement, resulting in slow decision-making. Since any worker can decide only after the higher officials have accepted it. An informal work culture encourages collaboration among staff, creating a more productive working space and resulting in quick decision-making.
#2. Collaborative Workspace – Formal work culture follows a hierarchal command flow. Hence there is no chance for departments to collaborate and create something new. Informal work culture understands the need for collaboration between departments and employees, as it results in more accurate and innovative output.
#3. More Flexibility – The formal work culture is rigid. The employees need to perform as per the procedure assigned to them by the top-level management. However, the informal work culture provides more flexibility, enabling them to pursue their methods and ideas to accomplish a task.
#4. Improved Work Performance Of Employee – Employees’ performance in formal work culture is lacking due to less flexibility and strict policies. But in Informal work culture, the employees can work more effectively without any pressure or fear, resulting in improved employee work performance.
#5. More Productive – A formal workplace culture is a highly structured workplace with set hierarchies and strict rules making the workers feel oppressed and stifling their innovative thinking. The employees feel reluctant to share ideas and take risks. At the same time, an informal work culture results in an easy workflow with fewer restrictions. Therefore the employees are more productive and feel valuable.
#6. Easy Communication Flow– In a formal workspace culture, there is a lack of communication as the employee can discuss with only their immediate supervisor and has to follow some specific chain to discuss any query or issue with the top-level people. Unlike the former, Informal work culture encourages employees to have more meaningful conversations and feel more connected to their colleagues, all of which can lead to greater productivity and collaboration, which is possible due to easy communication flow due to the removal of the work chain.
#7. Better Work-Life Balance– On the one hand, the formal work culture requires the employee to complete the task assigned at a specific time. The employee works extra hours after the office to meet the project deadline. On the other hand, informal workplace culture is often more conducive to a better work-life balance. With clearer boundaries between work and personal life, employees can have more control over their work and how much time is dedicated to it.
#8. Creates A Stree-Free Environment – Being too rigid and strict, a formal work culture creates a stressful working space. However, the informal workplace culture also considers employees’ ideologies, proving to be a stress-free zone for its workers, so they work as their true selves.
#9. Increased Morale – Unlike the Formal workplace culture, which is stifling, limiting the work morale and lowering the enthusiasm of workers. The informal workplace culture, however, provides a relaxed environment for the employees, boosting their morale and increasing their productivity.
This shift in workplace culture has been seen particularly in the tech industry, where many companies created open, informal workspaces that facilitate collaboration and innovative problem-solving. These successes have led other organizations to adopt similar practices, realizing that informal work culture can be beneficial for both employees and employers alike as it also fosters open communication, collaboration, and trust, which can lead to better problem-solving and decision-making. An informal workplace culture can be more productive than a more traditional, formal environment, and it is likely to become more prevalent in the future.