Office design strategy is largely about efficiency, productivity, and how many employees can effectively and purposefully be placed in a space to churn out the best results; usually from a monetary perspective, sprinkled with employee happiness and wellbeing. Yet, in an ever-evolving landscape that demands supportive collaboration in the office, we’re left wondering why more commercial office spaces aren’t optimized to improve creativity.
Commercial office design and business success are joined at the hip — an intriguing space that stimulates the employee base and helps to optimize productivity is good for business, of course – but what happens when the industry falls in the creative sphere and influencing and inspiring creativity is key to ensuring organizational success?
Approaching office creativity factors is tough, and the majority of design-build firms get it wrong, thinking the entire show should fall on bright coloured paint, a staff cafe, and tech-savvy conference rooms. While those are certainly part of the equation, that’s not all it takes to help improve creativity in the office…
Creativity is all about sharing, brainstorming, and the evolution of simple ideas into powerhouse action plans that help exceeds expectations. Modern commercial office design layouts are quickly embracing shared collaboration spaces that give employees a curated space to brainstorm and exchange ideas in a meaningful way.
These spaces not only help to create an environment of communication that leads to efficiencies and increased productivity but also helps create a creative culture that’s less about competition and more about teamwork. Employees stem from a wealth of different backgrounds, with different upbringings, educations, and cultures – therefore, they come to the table with a load of different ideas – collaboration spaces are meant to get the creative juices flowing by giving them a space to share those thoughts.
Size & Tech
Collaboration spaces can mean embracing small, semi-private rooms for employees who prefer quiet contemplation, or vast open spaces made for calling out ideas that come to mind. Consider outfitting the latter with digital whiteboard technology for creative documentation, recording, and ease.
Technology is key to the success of collaboration spaces – not only does the latest and greatest video/audio equipment allow your team to include remote or telecommuting employees in creative discussions, but it also allows them to store, access, and edit those ideas later on when the collaboration session has ended. Second to documenting a brainstorm, tech is a powerful creative tool that gives teams access to immeasurable creative power and inspiration. Don’t leave your team in the dark.
Bring Your Clients into the Design
Ad agencies and marketing firms, for example, are constantly reinventing themselves to stay up to speed with the most current and relevant trends – both from a execution standpoint, and a style and design standpoint. These creative spaces need to ooze creativity in order to help employees to stoke their own creative juices.
Bringing your overarching client experience into the design of an office is a fantastic way to improve office creativity. For example, let’s imagine an ad agency has a plethora of creative clientele, ranging from the entertainment industry to the automotive industry, to the tech sector. In order to keep those clients optimally happy with the firms work, and to balance productivity with the bottom line, it’s wise to introduce some key indicators to the design of the office to remind your staff who they’re working with, and why they’re doing it.
Consider how simple it would be to outfit the employee break room or cafe with various forms of automobilia cues like a halved classic car above the coffee bar, or a bench from an old Cadillac in one or two of the collaborative spaces as bench seating. Taking a cue from Google or Apple’s book could mean adopting a pseudo tech sector office vibe to help employees push the boundaries of their own creativity while trying to get inside the mindset of their clients.
Second to the subtle reminders throughout the office design, it’s the detail that goes into the offices’ overall aesthetic that helps to maximize company values and creative inspiration. A lot of the time, these aesthetic signifiers are neglected or ignored in favor of keeping a budget in check or adopting a trending office design layout.
Meanwhile, the office remains a blank slate of sorts, with no individual identity, or reminders of the great work your office team has created in the past.
Physical environments play a major role in how people feel about their work, and they also influence how well they are able to perform at work. Accidental, or chance encounters are absolutely critical to sparking innovation, creativity, and workplace satisfaction by allowing employees to connect and communicate in ways they hadn’t intended.
Great ideas don’t happen behind the desk or while staring at the computer; they happen when people have mini-epiphanies when talking with a colleague in the hallway, on the way to their cars at the end of the day, or at the proverbial water cooler.
Informal meetings or spur-of-the-moment brainstorms create excellent opportunities for employees to collaborate and exchange ideas – sometimes with colleagues they rarely get a chance to work with, empowering them to reach out again in the future.
While embracing these encounters may feel spontaneous to employees, organizations that intentionally develop working environments to support these kinds of chance encounters can be wildly benefitted in the long run. In fact, employers that proactively create spaces where employees can get creative and connect with one another can yield nearly 150% higher earnings when compared to their competition.
Inspiring creativity with purposeful office design is about more than bright spaces and employee perks.
The overarching experience of engaging with your colleagues and employees in the office is about finding ways to allow your team to interact with one another, to exchange ideas, and to develop a space that supports a culture of sharing, teamwork, and unity.