Article: How creative office designs move people

Watercooler

How creative office designs move people

The future workplace will be a place to think and collaborate rather than- to sit and execute.
How creative office designs move people

In September 2015, Facebook came out with its first live video in which founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself provided a guided tour to company’s own headquarter at Menlo Park, California. As the camera captured a single mile-long room that housed thousands of employees, cool features like wall graffiti, gymnasium, multi-cuisine cafeterias, comfortable lounges, seating plan with no cubicles, everyone wanted to know how Mark’s own workstation looks like. To everyone’s surprise, it wasn’t a corner office with fancy interiors and furniture, but a desk in the open plan space, just like everyone else's. The discussion about creative co-working spaces was again ablaze on social media and the world was discussing how it impacts the productivity of the people. 

The concept of work-life-balance is obsolete now. New age office premises are expected to provide work-life-integration. As the share of millennials in the workforce continues to grow, creative office spaces are also a way to attract, retain, and nurture the brightest talent in the industry.

Here’s why a creative office space matters for new age organizations:- 

Reflecting the culture

Office designs can be a great medium to tell the business story. Back in 2003, Telenor’s Global Chief Executive Officer Jon Fredrik Baksaas had suggested that company’s headquarter is not merely a real estate but a communication tool. Wall graffitithat highlight the most important milestones and achievements, memories, and the values of the organization can be a big motivation for the employees. Whiteboards, meeting areas with soothing colors and interesting artifacts can stimulate the right juices from the thinking glands of the people around. This also give cues to the potential employees and new joiners about what to expect in the organization.

Increase collaboration and productivity

Locking someone up in a cubicle with business targets and deadline is not always the best idea. In one of her memo to company’s employees in 2013, Yahoo Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer Merissa Mayer wrote, “Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings.” Therefore, the office design must have spaces where people can meet randomly for a cup of coffee, rub shoulders at during an internal celebration, or assemble formally for a town hall. Think of an office space with plenty of natural light, a killer view of the city skyline, and breakout areas that have a bistro or café feel. There are better chances that people would be more cheerful, energetic, and receptive to new ideas while working out of such premises. 

Need for serious fun

One of the Google offices literally has a sliding slope instead of staircase right in the center of the office premises so that people can slide down from one floor to the other. It was found that people not only tried this for fun but their face to face interaction with their peers sitting on different floors also increased. A significant part of our day is spent in the office. Therefore, making work fun reduces monotony and builds bonding within teams. Things like auditoriums for screening films and other popular shows, facilities for indoor and outdoor games, and temporary design structures that raise curiosity were not heard in India until the Multinational Companies (MNCs) or startup culture spurred here. However, going forward, we can expect businesses to take fun more seriously and make it a part of their office designs. 

The idea of scientific work management and need for efficiency was introduced to the worldby Frederick W. Taylor more than 100 years ago. He suggested measuring the work output in the factories against a stopwatch. Today, we have much more sophisticated tools to measure work efficiency and effectiveness. Therefore, workplace design becomes even more critical in order to improve the contribution of the individuals to the business goals. The early evidences suggest that the definition of workplace is fast changing from where work is done to how it’s done. The future workplace will be a place to think and collaborate rather than- to sit and execute. 

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