Wearing Sweatpants to Work (And Other Benefits of a Casual Company Culture)
How’d you like to have a job that allows you to set your own schedule, wear sweatpants whenever you want, and do fun stuff with your coworkers on the regular?
This isn’t some late-night infomercial, I swear. It’s my real-life (if somewhat braggadocios) description of my position here at 9 Clouds.
But instead of just listening to me boast, allow me to tell you why an informal company culture is an essential ingredient to a happy work life for any employee.
Top 5 Benefits of a Casual Company Culture
For businesses that want to attract top talent, creating an inviting culture is key.
In fact, recent research by Deloitte cites culture as “the most important issue companies face around the world,” with 87% of organizations listing it as their number-one challenge.
So if company culture is so important, how do you create a good one?
If Google’s famously laid-back culture is any indication, employees today want a work environment that is flexible and fun. They want free food in the break room, company-sponsored social events, and the ability to speak their minds, both to their coworkers and to their bosses.
And, lucky me — I get to enjoy all these things at 9 Clouds.
Here are my five favorite benefits of working in a casual office culture.
1. Wearing Sweatpants to Work
Okay, so most of us don’t wear sweatpants to the office.
And if we have client meetings to attend, we do dress up a little. We’re not total slobs here.
But considering how casual our company culture is, I don’t think anyone would bat an eye if someone showed up to work in a pair of joggers. (Plus, we work from home so often that who knows what sort of pants people are wearing on those video chats . . . if any. ?)
For real, though — the freedom to wear whatever we want is an underrated work perk. Maybe it’s the tween girl in me, but I believe clothing is an intensely personal thing, so the mere thought of adhering to a dress code (especially a formal one) makes me want to loosen my collar already.
The ability to come to the office in clothes I like and am comfortable wearing helps me feel more like “me” at work. I’m able to focus more on the work itself.
(Plus, I don’t have to feel bad about wearing leggings and an oversized sweater on those days when it’s just plain tough to get out of bed. You all know what I’m talking about.)
2. Setting Your Own Schedule
Employees today — millennials especially — crave the ability to work where and when we want. We’ve grown up in an ever-changing world, so it makes sense that we want a work environment that is equally adaptable.
I love that our company culture allows me to live a more spontaneous schedule. It suits my rather whimsical personality.
I’m able to sleep in a little if I’ve had a late night or leave early to enjoy a walk in the sun on a beautiful afternoon. I can attend the Zumba class I love on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and work from Barnes and Noble afterward in my sneakers and sweats. All I have to do is make up the time I’ve missed — which I don’t mind, because I do some of my best work at night.
Creating an informal company culture is all about understanding your employees’ personal work preferences. Of course, the work still has to get done, and you need to hold each other accountable.
But if your content specialist likes to write blog posts on her couch at 10 p.m.? So be it.
3. Drinking Beer While Bicycling
We’re pretty unabashed about our love of beer here at 9 Clouds.
Don’t worry, we don’t drink on the job . . . usually. (Friday afternoons are an exception. And only as long as we promise not to email clients after a beer or two. Never a good idea, friends.)
There is something really relaxing, though, about kicking back with your coworkers from time to time. Especially when you get away from the office. We like to do lunch or happy hour down the street to break up the day-to-day monotony of the typical workweek.
We’ve even been known to rent one of those ostentatious Sip-n-Cycle contraptions. Even the legit bicyclists on our staff agreed to partake in this (slightly embarrassing) experience for the sake of team bonding.
Whether we’re pedaling down the streets of Sioux Falls, playing card games in a cabin during a company retreat to the Black Hills, or accidentally kicking one another while snow tubing down a hill (I won’t name names here) — we like to spend time with one another. It makes work more fun, and it’s excellent fodder for inside jokes.
The fact that 9 Clouds sponsors social activities like these is a huge reason we’re so close as a staff. I’d say most of us would call one another friends, not just co-workers. And as this Officevibe infographic shows, 70% of employees believe that having friends at work is the most crucial element to a happy working life.
You can’t force your staff to be friends, but you can at least provide opportunities for friendships to form.
4. Petting Puppies at Your Desk
Coming from a girl who has yet to adopt her own pup (ahem, husband, please take note) — this benefit is especially fun.
Our team understands that family is an immensely important part of life. But it can be difficult to care for your family if you have to compartmentalize it from your work life.
Enter our policy of bringing pets to the office.
Since 9 Clouds is pet-friendly, our staff doesn’t have to worry about who’s going to let the dog out over lunch or whether the cat is getting enough attention. As long as they don’t cause (too much) distraction, pets are allowed to hang out by our desks while we work.
Not only is this arrangement more convenient for pet parents, it also brings levity and joy to our entire work environment. I actually wrote a whole post devoted to “Why Bringing Pets to Work Is the Best Thing Ever.” Seriously — it is.
This philosophy doesn’t just apply to pets, either. While 9 Clouds certainly isn’t a day care service, the team understands if a parent needs to stay home with a sick kid one day or take some last-minute PTO if the babysitter bails.
It’s this sympathetic work culture that not only makes us feel valued as individuals, but also makes our families feel valued as well. And that’s a powerful thing.
5. Feeling Confident in Your Job
I saved the best benefit for last.
While perks like free beer and no dress code are awesome, nothing beats the fact that I feel valued at my job. Since there’s a noticeable lack of hierarchy here at 9 Clouds, I feel that I’m an important part of the team, that my opinion truly matters. I don’t have to feel timid approaching my boss about an issue or Slacking a coworker for help. Communication is fluid among us all.
Today, job satisfaction is found in autonomy. If an employee feels she has a say in not only her own position, but also the direction of the company in general, she’ll have more confidence and passion for what she does. At least, I sure do.
And I’m not the only one who feels this way. According to Deloitte, employees today value purpose, mission, and work-life integration above other motivators.
So to create a culture people want to be a part of, start by considering your company’s core values. Then, find ways to work those into your office environment.
Education, for example, is a core value of ours. To encourage employees’ education, 9 Clouds provides time for us to read interesting articles or watch relevant webinars while at work. The company occasionally pays for online courses and even sends team members to conferences like INBOUND and MnSearch Summit, all in the name of learning.
In just a few weeks, in fact, I get to attend the Marketing United conference in Nashville. I’m stoked, and not just because I get to visit Music City.
I’m grateful 9 Clouds is willing to make the investment — not only in the company’s bottom line, and not only in me as a professional, but in me as a person.
Never underestimate the value of human connection.
Learn How to Establish a Great Company Culture
Entrepreneur claims culture is a “must-have” for any business. If our own informal culture at 9 Clouds isn’t convincing enough, check out this list of “10 Big Businesses with Incredibly Casual Offices.”
If you are intrigued by our company culture . . . there’s more where this post came from.
Second, you can read more posts about work culture and productivity. We’ve written extensively on the subject.
Finally, you can contact us to learn more about working with 9 Clouds. We are often on the lookout for new talent to join our team. And even if we’re not, we’d love to get to know you anyway! (Beer’s on us.)