How an Office’s Layout Influences Team Chemistry

One theory that is consistent with the organizational structure and management here at Preferred Freezer Services is the Affiliation Theory. BusinessDictionary.com defines the Affiliation Theory as a strategy used by a leader that “promotes harmony among his or her followers and helps to solve any conflict. This type of leader will also build teams that make sure that their followers feel connected to each other.” The CEO, John Galiher, personally contributed to the layout and design of their corporate office in Chatham, NJ. This is significant because his vision for creating sections of the office for each department promotes the team-like chemistry and heightened sense of coordination among the employees.

My first week I have been assisting the accounting department, specifically accounts receivable, with outstanding invoice collections. I work in a section of the office that is designated for accounting personnel only. Down the hall, the IT employees are located in their own section. Keep going down the hall and the finance and logistics are located, as well as strategically placed next to one anther to facilitate communication between the two departments. The design of the office promotes the idea of having teams within the company, and team-members come together around 12:00-1:00 in the middle of the office to take break in an amazing office kitchen/break room.

The design of the office is great for promoting team chemistry within departments, but the company’s tendencies to take the extra step in ensuring their employees are comfortable at work is the icing on the cake. The office has three kitchens, five coffee machines, 4 fridges stocked with free beverages, a table filled with fresh fruits (re-supplied daily), a frozen yogurt machine, and much more. I have never seen a company take the additional steps in making their workplace environment so inclusive, friendly, and comforting. This was designed by their CEO to make the office-space feel a lot less like an office and a lot more like a home for the employees.

My one criticism of the structure of the office is that it does break down the employees from being “preferred freezer employees” to “logistics/accounting/finance employees.” I am not sure if this takes away from any sense of group unity, but I am sure that the amenities provided by the company rest assure most of those concerns.

One thought on “How an Office’s Layout Influences Team Chemistry

  • July 11, 2019 at 3:10 pm
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    Wow, pretty swanky kitchen there! (One note: the photo did obscure the last sentence or two of your reflection.) I can see the benefit of having team members clustered together and their space being strategically close to other teams with which they work more regularly; but I can also see how this could break down overall PFS unity. (It’s not unlike having three undergraduate schools at UR plus Westhampton and Richmond College; some – like Jepson, Robins, and Westhampton have better community than say A&S and Richmond AND it is often discussed if that cuts into overall UR community.) In some ways, this seems to address more items in the ‘leader/follower relationships’ prompt than the ‘organizational culture’ or ‘theories in action’ prompts. For future ‘theories in action’ I think you want to delve in a bit deeper, identify key elements of a whatever theory you discuss and provide concrete examples that illustrate those various elements. But clearly, PFS is interested in creating a welcoming, more non-corporate environment for its employees.

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