Creative Office Design
You know how important creativity is to the ongoing success of your company. You’re also aware that creativity at your company isn’t as good as it could (or needs to) be. At this point, you’re probably thinking “So how can I improve creativity at my company?”
You’re not alone. Every week, we speak to dozens of companies about improving their workspaces. Sub-par creativity is a common concern. A study by IBM showed CEOs consider creativity to be the most important factor for future success.
Creativity has been declining for decades. It’s common to blame the lack of creativity on increasing workloads and always-on technology. However, the working environment has also played a role. 20% of office workers cite uninspiring environments as a major block on creativity in the workplace.
So how can you ensure none of your people are limited creatively by your workspace? In this article, you’ll learn the top 5 ways you can boost the creativity of your people with office design to create a workspace your people love. By the end, you’ll know exactly what these techniques are, why they matter, and how you can implement them at your company.
For your people to be as effective and creative as possible, they need a variety of spaces in your office to facilitate the different tasks they work on. Creativity is as much about individual work and relaxation as it is about teamwork.
Creating a variety of environments will not only support your people to be more productive. It will also encourage them to move around throughout the day. This will increase informal contact between different colleagues, creating opportunities for “watercooler moments”.
How to Improve Activity In Your Office
To encourage your people to be more active, it's important that you have distinct areas for the different types of work. For large offices, you may need 2 or more of each type of area. You should also include different types of environments within each area. Different staff will have different working styles, even within each area.
Technology is also an important part of active workspace design. Your people will need portable, lightweight laptops or tablets. Easy access to charging and wifi is also essential. Implementing hot desking will also encourage your staff to become more active, by removing their default workstation. To make it even easier, you could install hybrid meeting A/V technology with bring-your-own-device (BYOD) capability.
One of the most important areas in your office is your collaboration space. When people with different skills, perspectives, and experiences come together, they are more creative and effective than solo workers. Collaboration is about more than sharing information in meetings. It’s about working together effectively (and often informally).
Unfortunately, many offices have little or no real collaboration space. They may have meeting rooms and a breakout area, but these are not for collaboration. They are for formal communication and relaxation respectively. To maximise creativity, you need a dedicated collaboration space.
How to Maximise Collaboration in Your Office
To improve collaboration and creativity at your company, you need to create a dedicated collaboration space. It’s important that your collaboration area has variety within it, as teamwork comes in many shapes and sizes. It often happens in teams of 2-5, in an informal style. It should also include A/V technology to allow for the inclusion of remote workers.
It may seem counterintuitive, but relaxation is a crucial part of creativity and overall performance. Only when we are able to step away to recharge and refocus can we be truly creative. Several studies have shown that when we are doing something with a low intelligence requirement, our creativity is boosted by up to 60%.
How to Improve Relaxation in Your Office
Again, providing a dedicated and suitable space is essential. If you have a dedicated space, you can ensure that it is designed exclusively for relaxation. A typical breakout space will include a kitchen or bar, an eating area, and soft seating.
Ideally, your breakout space will have a different look and feel to the rest of your office. This is often a warmer, more relaxing colour scheme with more soft furniture. This will create a clear distinction between work and relaxation areas, making it easier to work in other areas of your office.
Customisability can take your workspace to the next level, boosting the engagement, creativity and performance of your people. All your people are different and work in different ways, so have different requirements from their workspace. By building customisability into your office design, you allow your people to adapt their workspace to suit their exact needs. This flexibility also enables you to adapt your entire space as your needs change.
How to Improve Customisability in Your Office
To boost customisability in your office, you need to include modularity and portability wherever possible. As the part of the office your people interact with the most, customisable furniture is essential. There are many modular furniture systems available, from movable bleacher seating to reconfigurable pods and booths. Movable walls and portable screens can also be used to provide more privacy or focus if required.
There is more to maximising the creativity of your people than optimising your office layout. You also need to make your workspace an enjoyable, inspiring place to be. For this, biophilia is crucial. Studies have shown that workspaces using natural materials increase creativity by 13% and productivity by 6%.
Biophilic design maximises the use of natural materials and features throughout the office. This includes features and finishes such as plants, living walls, and natural wood flooring. It also includes design aspects such as fresh air and daylight-balanced lighting.
How to Improve Biophilia in Your Office
Biophilia is much easier to incorporate into your existing office design than some other design elements we have discussed today. Desk and floor-mounted plants can easily be added to your office at a low cost. You could also refurbish parts of your office to include more natural materials. If possible, you should also move the most popular areas of your office near the windows. This will be the best use of natural light.
Making Your Company More Creative
We realise that improving creativity at your company is not only essential, it's also complicated, and difficult to track. We hope we’ve helped you understand why and how your workspace impacts the creativity of your people, and given you some ideas to improve creativity at your company.
It's important to note that while these aspects are true in their own right, they will have a much bigger impact if combined. An active workspace design with clearly defined collaboration and relaxation areas will encourage your people to move around, meeting each other more. Customisability builds on this by allowing them to adapt their workspace to suit their needs even better. Biophilic design will also boost the wellbeing of your staff, which is crucial for maximum productivity.
To learn more about other ways that office design can help your company, read 8 ways office design can boost company performance. We’ll go through the 8 most common benefits of redesigning your office, and how you can maximise their impact on your next project.