An amazing working environment breeds success!
A good office environment isn’t hard to find. There are plenty of small-scale office work spaces on the market, decked out with modular tables and the standard office chairs. But what if good isn’t quite enough? How do you get from good to awesome?
Location, Location, Location.
Unless you can start from scratch to build the ultimate work space from the ground up, like Google did with Googleplex, then choosing the right location can make a massive difference. Locating businesses in science parks, business parks, or centers of technology, such as Harwell Oxford Science, Technology and Business Park, means amenities like gyms, crèches, catering are either already on site or nearby. Chose a good location and you’ll get good amenities. Besides which there might even be tax breaks, allowing you to add to your decorating budget.
It also means that like-minded souls are nearby. Creativity inspires more creativity, and what better way to keep creative types and brainiacs happy than to surround them with like-minded souls. Locating offices where your staff will be amongst their own prompts workers to form professional and personal relationships that keep their minds working, your business networking, and your staff happy. It also creates a bit of competition, which can never hurt.
Check out some amazing work spaces that have been created by other companies. Google is probably the best known enviably cool work space Their offices, partially designed by the staff who work there, have play spaces, open areas, cubby-holes and slides between floors. Pixar have replaced the soul-destroying grey cubicles with cute little beach huts, complete with glazed windows, to provide a soundproofed space that’s still part of the office.
For 2004 and 2005 ?What If! was voted the company with the happiest workplace. They wanted a creative space for creative thinking, and succeeded. They use little quirky touches (like their Spider-Man cow in their front window) and brightly colored beanbags and comfy cushioned furniture to avoid a stale office feel.
Get in the Zone.
Assuming your office space is more than a single small room, there’s no reason different areas can’t be zoned – that is, divided into distinct areas. Use a different colour scheme or contrasting furniture styles to differentiate between the active, noisy creative areas and the quiet, focused ones. Use different lights to help provide contrast between zones.
Encourage relaxation by making space for it. Everyone needs a break or two in the working day, but a break works best if it actually feels like time off. If there’s a break space then put things in there that actually encourage relaxation: a games console, television, pool table or even a dart board, if that’s what your staff are into. Don’t just leave some tired old magazines in there.
Avoid The Norm.
If you’re aiming at creating a different style of workspace, then don’t just do what’s normally done. If you’re going to buy furniture, don’t buy office furniture. Look at IKEA, look at home stores. Just because the furniture is for an office, it doesn’t mean that it has to be office furniture. Some things are needed – desks and chairs for example – but a desk can be any flat surface that knees can go under.
How can creating an amazing working environment increase moral and production?
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