Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Where would you do your best work?

What with all the drama going on in my life again I haven’t had much opportunity to write again.  Not a happy moment for me as I did make certain promises.  So just to keep things ticking over a bit I am going to cheat a bit and post some blog articles I have posted on my work intranet.

This first one about working environments is very poignant for me at the moment.
I recently got into a discussion about work environments and how they can have a major influence on us all.

We have all worked in places that we were less than excited to get up in the mornings and go to; this is an awful feeling. It is much more pleasurable, and less stressful to go to a work environment that is filled with positivity and enjoyment. A positive work environment is not only important for our physical, mental and emotional health, but is also important for the results that we produce for the company. The better we feel at work, the more likely we will take pride in our job activities and be loyal towards our place of employment

It makes sense that people that are happy within their working environment will work far more effectively and happily than those who are uncomfortable: it therefore makes sense to consider certain aspects of your workspace quite carefully.

Now I am not only talking about the normal aspects of space, clutter, noise, ventilation, lighting and temperature.  Although, these are all equally important aspects.  In my case the temperature and clutter are great negatives. (I find myself unable to work very productively if I am cold, and anything below 22deg is cold for me.) 

Physical space matters. I think it is far easier to be productive, creative and happy at work in a colourful, organic, playful environment than in a grey, linear, boring one.  And this is not just the outside of the building; we need to remember that most employees work inside the building.

Now, when your office was furnished, did the shopping list go something like this?
·                 One desk. Gray / brown.
·                 One ergonomic office chair. Black.
·                 One waste paper basket. Gray / black plastic.
·                 One filing cabinet. Gray / brown.
You know – the usual stuff. Typical. Traditional. Boring and very unimaginative.

I’m not saying that a fancy desk or a weird chair is going to magically improve creativity and productivity – but I am sure, that all that sameness and eternal corporate greyness, does nothing good for our ability to come up with great new ideas.

Here are some ideas on how to spruce up a workplace that may actually inject some colour and fun into our work environment.

·         Colour, vibrant and energising.  Not magnolia or grey!
·         Music, upbeat and maybe a bit toe tapping.  (not to loud of course)
·         Plants.  Real ones, not those plastic fake looking ones.
·         Creative areas with white boards, or why not just write on the walls.  Praise for employees is written  across the walls and ceiling in the main area of What If Office.
·         Bean bags, they look great and can be used in a million different positions. Four bags and a coffee table and you have a great meeting room!  I doubt you can get stressed when seated in a bean bag?
·         And what a bout a slide feature?  Whooohooo!!! That’s the sound of someone blazing down the new slick carbon slide in the Red Bull office in London right before a meeting!  Not only does the Red Bull office have a slide they have ping pong table meeting rooms, a floating staircases, a slick slide to a modern bar and cafe, and a comfy lounge area… Now any tie wearing client is bound to be transformed into a cool craving stunt junkie after a quick plunge here.

Now, I doubt I have to mention the office of all offices - the Google offices.  I am sure you have all seen pictures of their work areas!

 What are your thoughts?  Any suggestions on how to transform a drab workspace into an exciting area of discovery you would love to spend hours at?  What would happen if we allowed staff to “create” their own areas? 

AND, if you dare – show us a picture of your work area (before you tidy).

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