Creative Office Environments
Certain kinds of creative office environments encourage greater creativity in everybody. More than that, people who are creative by profession or temperament prefer to work in certain kinds of office designs.
Make the environment visually stimulating.
It’s a well-known psychological principle that an optimal amount of stimulation generates maximum creative potential. Too much is jarring, confusing and even frightening. Too little is boring and fails to generate energy. Finding that middle ground, providing just the right amount of visual texture, color and variety will encourage curiosity, learning, and the generation of new ideas. Ideal office spaces may have different wall textures (e.g., brick, glass, fabric), different colors (white, red-brick or stone, brown), and work stations arranged in an open, airy, scattered style.
Let your style reflect office democracy.
Allowing the office users to make the space personal provides instant benefits. The range of items brought into the office will add to the variety of visual interest in the office and will also give the staff a sense of confident ownership over the space. People start to build a sense of community and act more natural, which really encourages spontaneity and creativity. People take risks when you have established trust in them.
Alter the space based on observation.
OK, you set up the office space based on a first guess. Don’t be afraid to modify the office space based on observations of what your staff clearly wants. Add lighting where it is most needed. Provide the kind of furniture that is used the most, giving people more options for where to gather.
Arrange your space in functional zones.
Establish functional areas or rooms. A kitchen zone may be just the place where staff gather to hash out ideas over coffee. A library or quiet zone may be a good place to meditate or study in quiet. You will need conference rooms set aside from the open space so that individual staff or groups can meet with clients. Some offices have areas just for fun, gaming or exercise. Some offices even include sunrooms with green picnic-like areas and fish tanks.
Give each space a brand or label.
Sometimes giving differentiated areas special labels or identities helps give your office a sense of orientation. Spaces should be marked with iconic objects, like stacks of books in the library, coffee cups in the kitchen, even oak wall panels in the conference room. Iconic objects add just the right sense of solemnity, a touch of tradition or fun that people enjoy moving through in the course of a day.
Give up the one-person-one-desk idea.
The old idea that everyone has to have an assigned desk may actually be received by staff as a limiting and restrictive practice. Modern computer networks make the need for a designated work station obsolete since people can sign into any computer or mobile device to actually work. In most creative workspace environments, employees rarely use their designated desks but are out in consultation with others or using mobile systems.
Take advantage of people density.
In a workspace, silence is deadly. If the work area is silent, any voice seems like an intrusion. The steady sound of quiet conversation acts as a filter building energy while masking noise and enhancing privacy. When speech is the basic habit in the workplace, everyone feels free to share ideas.
Let people choose their tools.
Providing chalk boards or white boards, open walls that can be scribbled on, doodle paper, cameras and sophisticated digital electronics will bring out the individual styles in creative employees who have their own means of expression, or exploring ideas. Some people need to doodle with music, others with crayons or modelling clay. It doesn’t matter as long as the idea eventually arrives in a form that can be communicated.
Don’t worry if you don’t have your own office space.
Many companies start out in shared office space, or even coffee shops and public libraries. Those early years can be a burst of creative energy and enthusiasm that can never be duplicated. You don’t have to rush in to an expensive lease if you don’t need it. Keep your options open and enjoy the thrill of the game.
Provide a space for the hard part.
At some point in the process, each employee will have to hunker down and do the actual hard work of writing and preparing a product, a contract, a report, or an accounting table. They will need the space for the serious, confidential, and solitary part of their work. Every office must have some place where a person can shut himself or herself up in private for an extended period to concentrate and have the tools available to do so.
VMI Office Solutions is here to provide the furniture for your creative office environment. If you are in the Chesapeake, Virginia area, please contact us to learn more.