It’s become a stereotype for media and tech companies to have quirky office spaces. The lounge ping-pong table, the kitchen beer tap, the meeting room with beanbags, because nothing says we’re creative quite like rarely used office paraphernalia.
Yet within these office clichés there lies an element of truth.
Physical locations that encourage fun can actually boost employee productivity and innovation. The physical environment influences how people feel, how they think, and how they interact. A special location gives people a sense of identity and orchestrates the way people work. The right space design will ensure idea generation and development.
There are three elements to consider when creating a fun and effective workspace: entrance, openness, and agility.
Give special attention to the first thing people encounter when they walk in. How do you want them to feel? If you want them to feel inspired, make sure the first impression is conducive to that. Determine the emotion your entrance should evoke and design the space accordingly.
For instance, at DDB Health we want people to feel welcomed and creative. To achieve this there is a small lounge with a viewpoint to a mounted monitor that houses the agency creative reel and welcome messages for clients. A well-designed entrance will make people remember the experience.
Innovation requires openness and therefore your location should not be hidden away or closed off. Your location should play into outside inspiration. When thinking of the space determine what design principles you want to adhere to, or an existing location to mimic from. One of the principles at DDB Health is to be courageous in everything that we do, and an element of that is to support great ideas and work. To accomplish this we have open areas like the Piazza where chance encounters can take place and ideas can be shared.
Open spaces serve as areas where people should feel encouraged to have random conversations. Random collisions are the building blocks of innovation. The more we meet and greet with individuals the more likely we are to have a conversation that benefits the business.
The main criterion for innovation when designing a space is agility. If your design allows for change then you can create different working formats wherever and whenever required. An agile workspace at its core has no fixed positions, thus your space gives you the signal that with any position you can iterate. And if change can be done quickly, just like moveable furniture, many versions of different ideas can be tested in a matter of moments. This encourages nimble thinking and the feeling that you can work from anywhere.
At DDB Health most of our desk chairs have wheels so people can move back and forth and collaborate on the fly. This leads to productive conversations with different individuals, so that we can produce the best print and digital campaigns possible for our clients. Soon, we will also have treadmills with standing desks attached to enable the realization of our mission statement to “be a force for good health.” Embedding physical manifestations of your values into the workspace proves to employees that you care.
Encourage random collisions, be open, be agile oh and don’t forget to have corners, because everyone likes to work in corners.