Does your office inspire creativity, or is your working environment a drain on your employees’ energy?
Only 70% of employees are engaged at work, and their companies suffer as a result. If your people aren’t busy watching the clock or looking for a different job on Craigslist, they’ll get much more done. Factors like supportive management, compensation, and recognition play a huge role in your team’s happiness. But so does having a creative office.
The New York times reports that the size of work spaces has dropped nearly 50% since the 1980’s. However, the world’s best-performing companies like Intel and Facebook are bucking that trend by creating fun environments that people love to work in. If you’re looking for ways to enhance your people’s happiness and motivation at work, check out these tips to get a little creative.
1. Turn Down the Lights
No one works well in fluorescent lighting. In fact, The Journal of Environmental Psychology reports that people are more likely to take risks and explore new concepts if they’re not squinting in super bright lighting. If you’re looking for a no-budget, super simple way to enhance your creative office environment, turn down the lights. This simple decision could encourage your people to start taking some chances, regardless of whether they’re working collaboratively or solo.
2. Provide Collaboration Spaces
It’s hard to host impromptu meetings in a cubicle farm, especially if the conference room is always booked out. Your employees need space to work together without having to make reservations a week in advance. The best ideas can come from unplanned collaboration sessions, so you should provide at least one space, which can include everything from couches to tables, where people can come together without an appointment of any sort to bounce ideas around or hash out plans for the future.
Worried about finding the space? Many creative office environments have switched to hot desking, or shared work spaces, to free up crucial square footage.
3. Invest in Objects
Sterile environments can foster disengagement. If people feel they’re unable to be themselves at work, they’ll be more likely to stick to rigid thought patterns and habits. Inc.com recommends branding your office space with objects. Plants, company mascots, stuffed animals, and art can all lend a distinctly comfortable air to a professional space. Allowing, and even encouraging, your employees to brand their personal work stations can also help create a distinctly more home-like environment.
You don’t need to invest in high-end artwork or tropical plants that will be impossible to maintain. You should, however, fight hard against a work space that screams “bland professional work environment.”
4. Maintain Ambient Noise
If your employees whisper, their great ideas might not be heard. Citing scientific studies that indicate many of us work best with ambient background noise, Buffer’s Beth Belle Cooper advises you to turn up the volume. Fighting against background noise enhances the brain’s ability to think abstractly, which is key for a creative office. In some businesses, this might be about encouraging conversations between employees, in others it might be about an ambient soundtrack playing over the speakers.
5. Don’t Freeze Out Your People
Any savings you may get on your electrical bill from keeping your heat too low isn’t worth it. Increasing your room temperature to a comfortable level can reduce distractions so employees can complete their work and be more accurate. Warm hands and feet are key for a creative office, which is why you shouldn’t be too stingy on the temperature.
A standard, sterile office is one of the fastest ways to dissolve any creative spark your employees might have. Take the time to consider the type of environment you’ve created as ask yourself if this is really the kind of place you want to spend 40 hours of your life every week. Use some of these tips to keep your employees engaged and performing their best.