Culture is a company’s immune system, and when it is rundown, we become more susceptible to toxic elements and viruses, Arianna Huffington, Thrive’s founder and CEO, says. After all, the culture in our workplaces can determine the difference between a stressful workday, or a purposeful one. And over time, those days have a huge impact on your overall experience — and your creativity and productivity — at your job. 

We asked our Thrive community for examples of different ways that company culture has impacted their experience at work, and we were amazed by the strong ripple effect that culture has on each office. Read on for creative things companies have done to empower and celebrate employees.

A “10 percent” meeting rule

“We have a ten percent rule for internal meetings, which means you can only spend four hours in meetings within your 40-hour week. It’s part of our culture in valuing each other’s time. With so little time budgeted, the value of our meetings is sky-high, so we always have a clear goal and agenda. Everyone shows up prepared, and excited to share their points of view and make decisions. With all the work that gets done outside of meetings, we have this fantastic feeling of constant progress. And we share meeting notes so that people can attend fewer meetings and still be in the know!”

—Rob Lennon, marketing lead at Hugo, San Francisco, CA

Goal-driven one-on-ones

“Recently, a CEO I work with changed the scope of his one-on-one meetings. Instead of focusing on the week’s agenda, he focused on the individual he was meeting with, and focused on whether or not the individual was working toward their personal goals. He’s noticed a major difference in motivation and efficiency.”

—Alex Kuhn, entrepreneurial leadership coach, Pittsburgh, PA

A joyful mid-day “paws”

“I work for a digital marketing agency where employees at all levels are encouraged to bring their dogs to work whenever they’d like. As a result, we always have around five dogs roaming around our desks, keeping the mood as happy and stress-free as possible. It definitely plays a big part in keeping the work environment a happier place — and it brings colleagues together.”

—Marcio Delgado, global content producer and influencer marketing campaign manager, Vienna, Austria

A weekly tradition that encourages connection through food

“As a health and well-being consultant, I’ve seen many clients’ cultures that work well and encourage employees to connect with one another. At one company, I saw the CEO purchase and host an all-employee lunch every Friday, where the employees choose the food that’s ordered in, and eat together. I’ve also seen ‘healthy potluck Fridays’ where everyone brings a healthy dish to work, with a recipe to share with everyone.”

—Natalie Johnnson, co-founder and chief visionary, Sarasota, FL

A non-traditional workweek 

“Many employees at our organization work four longer days a week, and every other Friday. Most meetings take place Monday through Thursday, making Friday a great ‘catch up’ day, which also allows us to focus on professional development and building new skills.”

—Isabelle Bart, Marketing Director, Irvine, CA

A wall that celebrates employees

“Our office has a wall decorated with colorful sticky notes where employees give shout-outs to their colleagues as they see them demonstrating one of our nine core company values. It’s fun to see your name on the wall, and even more exciting to see teammates celebrating one another for a job well done!”

—Tami Nealy, public relations, Phoenix, AZ

An openness to remote work

“As a working mom, I am able to work from home a few days a week so I can be there to drop off and pick up my daughters from school. It means a great deal to me as a mother to be able to do this. Plus, I find those extra, non-commuting hours give me even more time for strategic calls with clients and colleagues, and quiet heads-down time for writing and pitching. The flexible work hours make employees happier and more productive.”

—Danielle McWilliams, Senior Vice President at Novita Communications, New York, NY

Asking employees for input

“A small but favorite example of a great work culture moment was when my company decided to repaint the hallways in our office. We asked a visual artist to select four paint colors. We put up swatches of each paint color on the wall and had everyone vote on their pick. It was a wonderful moment of community where we were all actively involved in a decision — and today, the new color serves as an ongoing reminder of that moment!”

—Louisa Liska, arts manager, San Francisco, CA

Open-forum meetings

“The culture of the company I work for emphasizes freedom of expression. There are meetings held where everyone is encouraged to voice their opinion about what is working, and what’s not. To me, this creates an atmosphere that opens the door for deeper connections in the workplace, and makes employees feel valued.”

—Gabriela Chayele, support associate, Atlanta, GA

Have your own anecdote to share about a time company culture made a difference in your workplace? Tell us in the comments!

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  • Marina Khidekel

    Chief Content Officer at Thrive

    Marina leads strategy, ideation and execution of Thrive's content company-wide, including cross-platform brand partnership and content marketing campaigns, curricula, and the voice of the Thrive platform. She's the author of Thrive's first book, Your Time to Thrive. In her role, Marina brings Thrive's audience actionable, science-backed tips for reducing stress and improving their physical and mental well-being, and shares those insights on panels and in national outlets like NBC's TODAY. Previously, Marina held senior editorial roles at Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour, where she edited award-winning health and mental health features and spearheaded the campaigns and partnerships around them.