One of the guiding themes behind workplay is cultivating a playful workplace. This isn’t just about creating a working environment where people enjoy what they do. It’s also about creating workspaces that match the need for creativity and inspiration that are essential for success. If you think about it, it’s rather naive to expect a lot of fresh insights and ideas when you’re sitting in a gray cubicle, surrounded by white walls and neutral colored flooring. Which is why I was happy to come across Alexander’s examples of organizations who seem to understand the connection between space and creativity. As he writes:
Physical space matters. Itâ€™s easier to be productive, creative and happy at work in a colourful, organic, playful environment than in a grey, linear, boring one.
So, so perhaps you’re thinking, “Hey, this is a pretty good idea. Our folks need a more stimulating, engaging workspace. Where do I start?” Good question. Glad you asked. Here’s some ideas to get us started.
Pimp the Office Day
So, you have boring, white walls throughout your office space. Time to liven them up and what better or easier way to do than through a new paint job. Go to your local home improvement store and pick up some paint. Get employees involved in selecting colors, even themes for different areas of the workspace. Then, tell your customers that the office is closing for a day, turn off the phones, computers, etc, and go to work.
Why stop at just walls? Time to pimp out those mind-draining conference rooms. Need some inspiration? Check out Alexander’s more recent post: 12 Ways to Pimp Your Office. The point here is to start getting folks involved in building their own creative spaces.
Work on Wheels
Even if you have a stimulating environment, it’s hard to be creative if you’re stuck in the same place in the office floor plan day after day. One way to bring out the creative juices is to change your scenery. So, rather than an office space of fixed cubicles, turn your most valuable creative assets loose by giving them the freedom to roam. Give them laptops with wireless connections. toss out the cubes for more free-floating kiosk-like tables. Put file cabinets on wheels. Whatever it takes to get them up and moving around.
Org Chart Milkshake
Creativity doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Sparks of creativity are also generated by shifts in thinking and being around folks who are different from us. So, shake up that floor plan by creating workspace pods where each person is from a different department. In nearly every organization, people are clumped together by their function: marketers sit together, salesfolks sit together, account managers sit together…you get the picture. This may have made sense in the days prior to IMs, emails, and videoconferencing. Now, we tend to do it because it’s mindlessly ingrained in our business thinking. Time to get mindful again. If your organization appears to be siloed and you can’t figure out why, take one good look at where folks sit every day.
There are many more ideas out there. If your organization does something cool and innovative to shake up its office space, I’d love to hear it. The one thing we all need are more business cases to prove what we intuitively know: Workspace matters when it comes to being creative, stimulated, and engaged in our work, which is always good for the bottom line.