Technology has revolutionized the way we work and live, yet our physical work environment has stayed static. In a typical American office there are rows of cubicles and offices where employees and executives sit day after day in the same desk, at the same computer. Somehow the importance of our workplace environment has been consistently overlooked.
But not for much longer. We are quickly approaching the “death of the office” as we know it. The future will be anything but desk bound. We can expect to see more flexibility, mobility and a less centralized office.
Well-designed office spaces increase office productivity and creativity, reported Forbes.com. They can foster more of a team driven environment and increase performance. Just like your home is a reflection of you, your workspace is a physical representation of your leadership culture.
Kahler Slater, a global design enterprise, studied the physical environments of the Best Companies to Work For in America: 150 organizations, small, medium, and large, recognized by the Great Place to Work Institute. The results? The best companies that are unsurpassed in attracting and retaining talent and have significantly higher financial performance reinforce their cultures in their physical environments.
How can you do this with your business to become more successful? When employees and clients come into your workspace how will your vision and mission shine through the façade of an office setting? Forbes.com offers advice on how to do so. Ask yourself these questions.
Do you have external and internal brand alignment?
Having a successful brand, is more than just having a great product, it is also a product of the emotional ties between a company and its customers. If a company or business can extend this same experience to their employees that is EVEN better. The brand becomes aligned internally and externally.
An example is Mattel, where “play” is the toymaker’s brand, employees are shuttled between buildings in a Hot Wheels can and keep their favorite toys in their workspace. How can you bring your brand to life in your workspace?
Is the spirit of your culture visible?
Is your business or companies spirit creative? Is it fun and laid back? When people enter your office does the location, sinage, first impression exude the spirit of your business? First impressions come from the outside in and should ideally stay consistent throughout the work environment.
Dixon Schwabl, a full-service advertising agency, displays their “playful” culture with a slide that connects the two office floors.
Does one size really fit all?
Every person works differently. For me personally, I enjoy working in a place where there is a quiet buzz of others working or talking around me. It helps me to feel connected but I can still stay focused. This is not the case for everyone.
Some of the worlds most talented people are introverted and work better when left alone. Others thrive in an environment with constant human contact and stimulation. A work or office environment should be condusive to all personality types.
When creating your workspace try to incorporate spaces for those that need peace and quiet and others that encourage socialization. Kitchens are great for folks to connect, outdoor spaces give a feeling of freedom and can be enlightening. Also encourageing your employees to decorate their personal spaces with pictures and objects to make them feel at home will create a more successful work environment.
Games are a way to bring an office together. Connecting to your inner child can encourage community and team building, relieve tension, bring playful competition and renew energy. Put a ping-pong table, foosball or legos in the office. When stress gets to high or you hit that creative wall, a quick game can refresh the office.
So ditch the boring cubicle and desk layout when designing your office or workspace. Bring brand identity, life and human connection to the office to keep employees happy and productivity high. Most importantly, create an environment that helps you THRIVE!
© 2012 Inspired Living, LLC
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Keri Murphy and the Inspired Living team is on a mission to empower people to use their unique talents in a way that allows them to Dream, Live and BE all that is possible through speaking, coaching, celebrity interviews and original on-line content. Get Inspired at inspiredliving.tv