Inspire creativity at work !

If you were staying in a hotel, would you ever choose one with fluorescent lighting and drab grey rooms? The answer is obvious. But plenty of business owners forget simple things when it comes to office design. Exactly how do the smartest, most collaborative companies use office design to reinforce their culture and inspire creativity?
Allowing your employees to bring in personal items, not just family photos, anything that they feel a connection to (even their dogs), costs nothing and yet provides instant benefits. Not only do these artifacts brighten up a dull office but by letting your team be themselves at work, you really start to build a community. People act much more natural, which of course is really good for innovation and creativity. When you build trust in relationships and comfort, people will take risks.
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Let your team decide how they create. Some people create with crayons, some with computers, some have got to get up and write on the wall. If you go into a conference room with white boards and watch, there are certain people who unless forced will never write on the wall. They’re either not comfortable with their handwriting, or their body image, or they don’t like turning their back on people. But if you leave paper on the table, they start doodling! Get the best out of them by letting them do it in their own way.
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Think you need one desk per team member? Think again. Mobile technology has rendered this idea obsolete, which is good news for cash – strapped business owners – it frees up money for more creative space design. Part of the cost structure everyone has is they make this assumption of a desk per person, but when you walk into most places, how many of those desks are actually used at any given moment? Not many! Often up to 60% of desks can go.

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Channel your inner urban planner and think in terms of zones. Like a good city or a good restaurant, they all have zones. If people want to talk, they often stand at the kitchen counter because that’s where everyone comes and talks. If you need some privacy, an office or two couches pulled together, makes a better space, but it also makes for better collaboration because people have a choice. A great city has zones, why shouldn’t an office?

Density counts – and not just for efficiency’s sake. Think about when you go to a restaurant with your husband/wife – a second couple comes and they put them in the booth right next to you. What do you do with your voices? You get quieter until the restaurant gets busy and noisy. Offices are the same way. If you keep a lot of energy and people in the space, everyone is free to talk and interact, because the background noise – the buzz – gives them privacy!

Buzz is great for collaboration, but what about if someone needs to hunker down and concentrate quietly for a few hours? Business owners have a couple of options to cater to this sort of work, both of which can be successful: You’ve got to think about the space where someone is going to do two or three hours of concentrated work alone and everyone knows not to interrupt them. Or accept the fact that people are going to leave to go do it somewhere else.”

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It’s tough to really design your own office for the lean start-up years, which are often spent in shared offices, co-working spaces, or coffee shops. How do you know when you’re ready to graduate to an office of your own? One is stability. How much do you know about the business in a year or two or three? Two, how important it is for you to have your own culture and identity? Most businesses hit a point where being part of a big social network is no longer good because they need their own identity. Three is confidentiality.

How do you choose the environment that’s best for your team? Forget asking them and try watching them instead: The problem with asking is, if people don’t know it’s an option, they’re not going to give it to you as an answer. But when you watch their behaviors, you see no one ever uses those four spots over there but the couches are always busy. Or hey, why do you leave every other day? That would give [a business owner] a lot of clues to what’s right for their particular company.

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Adding plants and more light are small changes that pay big dividends. Studies show that natural light has beneficial health effects, and can boost creativity. And let’s not forget about games! A ping-pong table can be an excellent way to give the mind a break and allow employees a chance to use a different part of their brain for a few minutes. The same holds true for any other game table that requires a tiny bit of physical ability to play. Get away from the monitor every now and then!

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Thanks fro reading!

Kel

When it rains, look for rainbows

Images taken from: inc.com

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