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What makes a Creative and Vibrant Workplace?

Naturally, every business wants to build a workplace culture strongly conducive to enthusiasm and creativity. After all, without these ingredients, your business could struggle to unlock the potential capable of giving you a crucial edge on your corporate rivals.

Still, how exactly you are supposed to foster this kind of corporate culture could escape you. Much of the effort, you might think, should be in your choices of employees. After all, the right people are the jigsaw pieces for creating the right team and, thus, the right workplace mindset… surely?

While it would be naive of us to completely disregard this point, you shouldn’t overlook the extent to which the workplace environment itself could hinder your workers’ creativity. Indeed, Microsoft research cited by Wired UK reveals that, in a 2017 survey, 41% of respondents working in UK offices complained about uninspiring workspaces doing exactly that: hindering their creativity.

Therefore, you ought to assess just how work-friendly your firm’s current office spaces truly are before you start recruiting team members to those spaces, where they could otherwise suffer.

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Set up a programme of exciting workplace activities

Yes, there are, of course, tough deadlines to meet and demanding clients to keep happy. However, in trying too hard to drill a “productivity-first” mentality into your workers, you could inadvertently… well, break their spirits and, consequently, leave their productivity trailing far from pole position.

While keeping workplace morale can be surprisingly difficult at times, you could still remember to occasionally inject a sense of fun into proceedings by giving your team a break from working. That break could be a happy hour, party or competition, Fast Company suggests.

Though you might initiate those breaks rather spontaneously, you could be more rigid in scheduling classes, seminars and meetups aimed at improving workplace wellness.

You could invite wellness experts to impart their wisdom at an interactive workshop, as suggested in a Thrive Global article. Subjects of wellness-oriented seminars and classes you arrange for your workers could include how to eat healthily, yoga and meditation.

Add a bit of colour… but the right colour

However you would rejoice in aesthetically sprucing up your home, it probably wouldn’t involve painting it in swathes of brilliant white and installing huge fluorescent lights. Therefore, if your office is currently decorated in such a way, your workers might not be hugely inspired by the design.

What actually would make those people feel inspired, though? It isn’t the easiest question to answer, given that exactly how inspirational any given colour is remains, ultimately, a subjective judgement. You can, however, still settle on a general consensus about the right hues to choose.

For example, if you work for a company that aims to enhance mental wellness by creating new spa treatments or mindfulness products, then consider giving red and orange colours a wide berth. By contrast, aggressive colours – like, indeed, red as well as darker options – could be just what a videogame development team needs to develop an exciting shooting game.

Make your office feel like home – well, to an extent

You might not expect to successfully encourage creativity in a space that looks similar to your humble abode. After all, when you arrive there after a long, hard day at work, the last thing on your mind is doing yet more work! However, what if you have a home office?

Even if you don’t currently have one, you may have used one before – for example, to carry out work on a freelance basis. Remember how you used to work in that office and what accessories you sourced to support that. The same accessories could serve well in your current office…

Consider investing in comfortable bean bag chairs in which, as HuffPost suggests, co-workers could sit as they brainstorm together. You could also set up picnic tables where workers can relax as they tackle their hunger pangs. Set aside a communal space for fostering creativity with such furniture.

Encourage your workers to move

No, don’t worry, we don’t mean “move” in the sense of “leave the company” – we just mean encouraging people to occasionally get up onto their feet and start physically moving.

Have you ever noticed that you tend to get your best ideas when casually walking down the street or swimming at the local pool? That could be because, in moving your body, you can move your mind as well – and, hence, spark your creative fires.

Undercover Recruiter warns that “sitting at a desk for too long is not suitable for our physical or mental health”. However, with an open office design, you can encourage your personnel to occasionally get a little exercise – even if it’s just walking to another desk to chat with a co-worker.

You don’t want to put your workers off taking such breaks from their own desks if crankiness or lethargy set in, as breaks can give people time to clear their potentially stressful thoughts.

Tear down physical barriers to collaboration

Another incentive to get your staff working is that it can ease collaboration between team members. Creativity does not always depend on working with others, as many authors will be able to attest. However, you might be in a line of work where people must share ideas so others can build on them.

Evernote, the company behind the note-taking software of that name, has had its headquarters overhauled to give employees ready access to whiteboard walls, allowing workers to easily share their thoughts visually in collaboration spaces.

However, you shouldn’t necessarily be as adventurous as this with your own office design. Offices designed with bench workstations in place of cubicles can still boost collaborative creativity by, quite simply, making it easier for employees to see and chat with each other.

Allow your workers to personalise the space

The idea of letting your workers influence their workplace could initially fill you with alarm. Wouldn’t that be like putting Dracula in charge of the blood banks? It would be an understandable concern to raise, but the workplace should really adapt to your workers’ needs rather than vice versa.

When you first moved into your current office, it probably looked very bland, for want of a better word. Perhaps it was deliberately prepared that way so that potential occupants could see it as a “blank canvas” – and your workers could now treat it as exactly that.

Handing those workers the responsibility of rearranging the space’s layout would not necessarily be a bad thing, as those people will know well what work environments would be especially conducive to their success. Therefore, don’t be afraid to let your recruits move furniture around or even, to create larger meeting areas, remove doors – if there isn’t a landlord who would object!

Cleverly weave technology into the workplace

Many forms of technology can be hugely distracting, can’t they? Just think of smartphones and how many minutes you could lose simply checking out your Facebook and Twitter feeds. Doing that can take too much attention away from how you could work productively with your work colleagues.

This gets to the core of why mobile devices can be problematic at work: those devices could too often be assigned strictly for individuals’ use. However, when you come up with an exciting idea, you could benefit immensely from sharing it with other people in the office.

You could do exactly that through use of cloud storage to which other workers of the company have access. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence can help with a wide range of corporate tasks, including filtering emails and recognising natural language and speech.

Set aside suitable spaces where staff can meditate

Feeling stressed? You probably aren’t the only one feeling so in your office. After all, workplace responsibilities could just keep piling on top of you – but workplace stress can have worrying implications. Left untreated for long periods, stress can age you and your body.

Harvard researchers have even estimated that 80% of visits to the doctor are due to stress. While simply getting stressed would not be unhealthy for you, and you probably couldn’t practically avoid it in your workplace anyway, you could still help yourself and other staff to relieve anguish.

You could do that by allowing workers to use a specific part of your office for stretching or meditating. You could take inspiration from Salesforce, which has onsite rooms dedicated for meditation, and Genentech, employees of which can access an onsite gym.

How the right workplace can help your company to thrive

It would be too easy to underestimate an office design’s ability to spur your company’s success. Evidently, there remains plenty of room for improvement in workplaces worldwide; a 2017 Global Report by the US furniture purveyor Steelcase has revealed that, internationally, just 13% of workers are “highly satisfied” with their workplace.

Furthermore, improving your workplace wouldn’t have to be overly taxing. If you want to add such features as meditation rooms, for example, you probably still have sufficient space; according to research, any given day can see up to 60% of traditional office space unused.

It’s also worth remembering that you don’t always need any kind of budget to come up with especially innovative ideas. However, if you are still struggling to design the kind of workplace that could help you in attracting top talent and building a team primed for success, give our workplace design experts here a call.

You can ring us on 020 3797 2072 or email hello@maris.co.uk. Either way, architecturally, we can help to provide the right cultural fit for your company.