Every good entrepreneur or a business owner will tell you that the office is not a space that is solely about work. The development of the IT industry during the last couple of decades gave rise to a number of creative job posts. People who occupy such posts simply have to have a simulative working environment or they cannot complete the tasks ahead. Hell, even a factory worker needs to have a room where he or she can take a break and not think about work for at least half an hour.
Since productivity is directly linked with the office space, managers have been working with their HR teams for years to develop the perfect office environment that breeds creativity. Not every business is the same so some say that an office gym does the trick, others that a game room is a must and then there are those who claim that well-stocked kitchen will make any worker happy. The reality is that you have to adjust the free time activities to the needs of your workforce.
For most, a hot cup of black coffee in the morning is enough to get their brain cells going but others require more to excel. That is why we have compiled a list of the most useful additions you can make to the office in order to boost creativity. And yes, there is even a wellness program involved!
A tangible timeline
There was a time when you were a solopreneur and there is the present tense where you employ tens, if not hundreds of people. Essentially, the company is not something that was founded yesterday nor will it close for business tomorrow. This corporate timeline exists in the mind (and hopefully, hearts) of workers but a visual representation couldn’t hurt either.
Create a panel where the owner, the management, and the employees would be free to share the past, the present, and the future of the business. There can be images of great deals or products you made together or simply a goofy photo from the last team building outings, that sort of thing. Finally, a section of the notice board would cover future projects and growth wishes. If you wish to be high tech, a TV screen can supplant the old corkboard.
A lazy break room
Since it is on the opposite side of the productivity scale from work, laziness is often stigmatized in modern work etiquette. However, when it comes to creative industries, laziness is actually a good thing. The time people spend idling around is the time their brain gets the much-needed daytime rest so it can give it best during brainstorming activities.
The break room inside the office should, therefore, not be conventional in the sense that the biggest comfort is an armchair. Go all out and get lazy bags (what a suitable name) and even a couch that can transform into a bed. Remember, you brought people over to your company to make money and if they need an afternoon nap in order to maximize their creativity, then you need to deliver. In the ever more competitive market of today, companies that facilitate the creativity of their staff are the ones which thrive.
An army marches on its stomach
The rest area inside the office should have a mandatory kitchen. It is easy to install a kitchen as the space you bought or rent probably came with a kitchen with all the utensils. However, you are aiming for an unorthodox kitchen that will be a piece of art in itself. You can get one of those cool-looking streamlined fridges and stock it with snacks and fizzy drinks that cannot be purchased at any supermarket. By consuming food and beverages that are unique to their workplace, employees too will feel special and privileged.
If there isn’t a restaurant or a canteen in the office building your office is situated in, then you can order ready-made meals for lunch. In fact, once a month the lunch can be on the house, to show your appreciation door all the hard work your employees put in. Since food and the dining room mean that the break from work has commenced, the décor of the kitchen should be joyful, with artistically and vividly painted walls.
It’s all fun and games
Inside the break room or rooms, there should be a special section for a game room. Stock it well with all sorts of fun activities like darts, billiards, game consoles with the latest titles, and even a bookshelf. In order to know exactly what to get for the game room, run a poll to see what the workers like. Of course, you are not going to fulfil unrealistic wishes like a flight simulator but an automatic coffee machine is fairly easy to get. This way, the employees will justifiably believe that you took their advice and got the things they craved the most.
An artistic outlet
You could have probably guessed at some point in the text we would have listed the decoration of the office with artwork. Well, there is something more stimulating than simply inviting a street artist to paint a mural on one of the walls in the office. There is hardly a person that doesn’t have an artistic side to his or her personality so you should ask the workers themselves to decorate the office and display their artwork. Whether it is a painting, an etching or a poem, you should embrace it and proudly display it in a prominent place within the office.What is more, seek to engage the workers to share their private lives and interests with their colleagues, if they wish so, of course. If there is a hardcore fan of Game of Thrones in your workforce, then you can let them organize a screening of a particular episode or help them get everyone GoT mugs or T-shirts. All in all, the artistic outlet of individual workers should become an integral part of the office’s interior design.
There is an eternal dilemma among interior designers whether an office gym is a good or a bad thing. The main argument is that workers will not use the gym inside the office enough for it to be retable. That is why some believe that membership in the local gym is a far better option. However, the real dilemma here is whether your workers wish to stay fit and healthy. You should promote an active lifestyle but if there are no interested parties for a complimentary gym membership, don’t force it upon them.
Like we stated earlier, laziness is OK, so the break room could feature a massage chair. They can be pricy but you can always rent one, as it brings numerous benefits. Firstly, this is something that people don’t normally have at home and its powerful massagers practically count as a 10-minute workout. In terms of health, you need to take into account the needs of individual workers and adjust the office design to accommodate their workout routines.
Behinds the scenes
Apart from fancy gizmos, Italian coffee machines, and lounge chairs, you need to take active care about the quality of life at the office. After all, this is a place where people spend at least a third of their day, so they need to have the basic necessities as well. Things like sufficient natural light, lamps, and air quality should not be neglected. Make sure the ventilation is operating properly, that there are enough air-conditioning units, that the windows are large enough to take in sunlight, and that LED lights are strong at every desk. These are the details that workers won’t thank you for in person, but you will experience their gratitude through increased productivity.
Personal workspace freedom
An open plan office, cubicles or separate office, it doesn’t make much difference when you know that each worker has some sort of personal workspace. In terms of design, this area should be off-limits to your cosmetic interventions, sort to say. Each and every worker should have the freedom to arrange their desk in the fashion they seem fit, including the surrounding walls and partitions. You should only intervene if the posters they put up are obscene or hateful to other people. Otherwise, a wacky Rastafari cubicle design is perfectly acceptable.
Literal chat rooms
Whether it’s the kitchen, playroom or the break room, the worker will probably walk into it alone. However, there they are going to interact with their colleagues and it is during these casual chats that the greatest business ideas and plans are conceived. The way you organize these provisional chatrooms is crucial. For instance, if there are two sofas, they should be facing each other with a coffee table between them. Furthermore, there should exist a single large dining table or a counter in the kitchen, so workers can share the meal together. A well-designed office should facilitate vivid social interaction because it is a breeding ground for creativity.
A touch of nature
No matter how hard you to spruce up the office and make it user-friendly, to put in like that, the fact remains that it is intrinsically an indoor space. What you really need are plants and a lot of them. There are many plant species that are ideal for the office, so be sure to place pots all over the place. Even if your office is located in a high-rise you’re still expected to introduce some form of plant life. After all, what is the balcony for, eh?
If there are any employees who are green thumbs, you can delegate the nurturing of office plants to them. As time goes by, their enthusiasm will soon transfer to other people and before you know it, whole departments will be planting their own trees and shrubs. This would be the ideal team-building activity made possible by careful office space planning.
Before you apply any of the office design features related either to games, kitchen, coffee or wellness, you need to acknowledge the importance of commercial interior design. Once you start appreciating the power of a carefully planned office, you will be able to truly influence the creativity and productivity of the people working in that office from day to day.