Can the appearance and design of your office space really boost creativity? Some business owners are naturally sceptical of this, though scientific research actually suggests that weird and wacky office designs really can boost creativity and even if they don’t, at least your employees won’t have to work in a drab cubicle under the glare of a fluorescent light any longer!
That isn’t to say you have to go all out and ‘theme’ your office space in the manner of certain prominent companies – no need to identify them as you’ve probably already been on their websites at least once already today – as there are many little changes, and a few big changes, that really can boost creativity levels in your office space and could enable your business organisation to gain a competitive edge.
The best office spaces have incorporated zoning techniques, much like urban planners do when designing the layout of cities.
Creating zones provides your employees with a choice of where they want to work and it also encourages movement which gets blood pumping to their brains thus boosting creativity.
This is also good for boosting productivity, reducing absenteeism levels and having a happier, healthier workforce that really enjoys the time they spend in their work environment.
– Create a space where employees can gather to talk and discuss the projects they’re working on, somewhere near the water cooler or coffee machine
– Creating private, quiet areas where your employees can hunker down and focus on what they’re doing is also important and they don’t need to be traditional workstations either
– Allocate a space as a collaborative space without workstations, something along the lines of a group of sofas with a coffee table in the middle or a long table with bench seats
Watch your employees – then get them involved
What’s being advocated here isn’t spying on your workers or carrying out some kind of social experiment, but rather watching them in their current work environment to see for yourself what changes could be made.
After you’ve watched them and identified a few areas that you believe are in need of improvement, involve them in your plans to redesign your office space with the aim of boosting creativity levels.
There are many ways that you can involve your employees when redesigning your office space, not to mention many outstanding benefits for doing so.
– Ask them about their current workstations and the layout of the space in which they work to find out what changes they would like to see
– Allow your employees to decorate their workstations as they see fit to make them feel happier and more comfortable at work
– Provide them with ‘desktop plants’ – desktop plants provide many benefits including improved air quality, increased creativity and productivity, reduced stress levels, plus they promote green lifestyles – and allow them to choose their plants
– Consider doing away with workstations if you and your employees feel as though they’re impeding creativity and discuss zoning the workplace (see above)
Involving your employees in the design of your office space – their work environment – also makes them feel more appreciated and at home and that’s an excellent way to boost creativity levels.
An all-round sensory experience
For your employees to feel creative they need to feel comfortable in their work environment and that also involves aiming for a combination of home comforts and technology, along with entertainment and interactive areas.
According to Clive Lucking, chief executive of Fourfront Group, “the office is becoming a fusion of home and office, with pool tables, snug areas, mobile technology, stand-up desks and think tanks”.
This doesn’t mean you have to rush out and buy pinball machines for your employees to gather around when planning the fit out of your office space, though it does involve making the workplace seem less like a traditional office and somewhere far more welcoming.
Oh, and if some of your employees are prone to making typing errors, take note of the research carried out by Japan’s Takasago Corporation which found 54 percent of typists made fewer errors when they could smell lemons – maybe your office space could do with a change of air freshener too!