How creative office spaces boost productivity and loyalty
One thing both startups and established international corporations have in common is trying to increase productivity and incite innovation. A major factor in achieving this over the past several years has been figuring out which workspaces work best.
In the next quarterly issue of Thinkruptor Magazine, we’ll be touching on the subject of managing today’s startup staff and product teams and asking a few experts for advice on this. In the meantime, we took a look at how some growing companies are applying creativity in office spaces to be more successful.
Why and how creative office spaces work
In short, creative office spaces get the job done, and well, because they tend to improve productivity significantly. Most of these new(er) types of offices directly encourage staff to learn, grow, thrive and bring a personal touch to work every day. Another common thread that affects workflow and final results positively is that these workspaces focus on opening lines of communication among staff and different departments, which in turn breeds collaboration. The “two heads are better than one” rule is naturally applied to every task and project.
Encourage movement and natural lightMost creative offices today encourage movement. The human body is built to move, not sit at a desk for eight hours straight. In fact, people should sit for no more than two hours during the average work day.
The Rolex Learning Center in Lausanne has added sloped floors to its vast, open work space, to make sure students put in a little leg work into their day, and large holes in the ceiling, providing a maximum amount of natural light, something else humans need a lot of.
According to a study by Cornell University, access to natural light increases alertness. The study claims that employees in offices with smart glass reported a 56% decrease in drowsiness. And the fact that the Rolex Learning Center edifice looks elegant and impressive in the process doesn’t hurt either.
Flexibility and collaborationFlexibility in office layout and where people can work has proven to benefit productivity tremendously. Working at the same desk, in the same cubicle, looking at the same view day in and day out for months or years can be downright mind-numbing.
A simple way of resolving that problem is by creating common areas that employees can use to work and by encouraging staff and teams to decorate and change the space. These offices also frequently include small, private nooks for relaxing and quick, impromptu catch-ups among employees.
Airbnb’s San Francisco office space does a great job with this and more. The company’s VP of Design Alex Schleifer says their space is organized in “neighborhoods built around large project rooms.” These ‘project rooms’ are modular spaces, equipped with all sorts of project management tools, ready for anyone to use. Schleifer adds, “Everyone is free to pick up and work in the many open spaces distributed around the office. People are also free to change spaces by decorating them.”
Align with your brand values
Every employee is a brand ambassador. Or should be. This concept seems to be a difficult one for many companies to grasp and, like most things, it begins at home – i.e. in the office. A company, those leading it and those working for it, should live and breathe the brand.
Google has been a pioneer in this area and we weren’t surprised in the least to discover that Google’s Zurich office seems like yet another incredible place to work. Employees of this office call themselves ‘Zooglers’, showing that they identify and take pride in both the company they work for and their location.
Aside from the usual sports and game features you’d encounter in any Google office around the world, the Swiss HQ includes an aquarium where staff can enjoy bubble baths, a sky lounge (it is Switzerland after all) and a movie room. We’re assuming Zooglers want to stay late at the office to work as often as possible.
Delegating spaces for relaxation and investing in the best tech and tools for creativity makes employees feel and work like a ‘pack’, a group with mutual experiences, beliefs and goals. Contrary to what most previously believed, that games would distract from work and offices should be plain and free of such distractions, fun spaces have proven to foster incredible productivity and loyalty.
As WeWork co-founder Miguel McKelvey, who is also responsible for the company’s design and architecture, pointed out, “It’s more crucial to make sure people are connecting and brainstorming with each other.”
Today, productivity and attaining that leading edge in some industries boils down to hiring the right people and giving them the best tools and spaces to work in. People then tend to like their jobs and want to hold on to them – the best incentives to reach better results.