As the world moves beyond production line assembly work to knowledge and creativity based businesses, the requirements of our work environments change. Thanks to corporate giants like Google and Facebook that have demonstrated tremendous success despite their unconventional workplaces, more people are embracing the idea that a creative work environment helps stimulate minds and inspire innovation. These companies attend to their physical environments with as equal an emphasis as they attend to the experience of culture and HR policies.
Here are a few ideas from these companies that have inspired me and that anyone can use to improve the overall office experience for their employees without going as far as building nap pods.
Provide spaces that fit many different work styles and needs
Have options for individuals to perform distraction-free work either through private offices, adjustable partitions, and portable devices.
Make space to support collaboration and impromptu interaction via break rooms, coffee stations with room to congregate, ample conference rooms, wide corridors, alcoves and huddle spaces, outside patio seating, and side chairs at workstations.
Have areas for undistracted teamwork and meetings of different sizes with movable tables and mobile work surfaces so you can customize the space for specific needs.
Offer task lighting, ergonomically adjustable work surfaces, chairs, and mobile furnishings like wheeled tables and side chairs. Give individuals the ability to control the temperature in the space they’re working, and/or heating/cooling zones with accessible thermostats available.
Access to daylight
And with all of that daylight, glare control is a must.
Offer anti-glare devices for monitors, ability to relocate computer equipment, and access to light switches and window shading.
Have a professionally maintained plant program
According to a study at Texas A&M University, employees are 12% more productive and less stressed than those who work in an environment with no plants. Also according to this study, both women and men demonstrate more innovative thinking, generation of more ideas and original solutions to problems in an office environment that include flowers and plants.
Express organizational culture
Get creative through color, interesting collaborative spaces, and “fun” details throughout the space.
The emotional health of great companies is centered around people
Many companies realize that work is inherently a social endeavor, when you understand the purpose and emotional health of great companies is centered around people, you can take performance to a much higher level. Creating places that provide for the wellbeing of people at work is critical for success. Rather than being seen as a cost of doing business, an office space can be a crucial factor in supporting business initiatives and improving performance. It’s often the second largest asset of an organization and this asset can be used to effectively attract and retain talent, which is typically the largest and most expensive asset.
To me, Ruby is something I wear on my finger, and Bootstrap is related to footwear, but I plan on helping Gaslight into the next phase by continuing to establish our physical workspace as a place that values each Gaslighter’s needs and reinforces our brand and culture from all realms of the business – our people, our perception, our product, and our PLACE.