The Workplace Blog

Is your office space inspiring creativity?

[fa icon="calendar"] 08-Jul-2015 08:14:00 / by Callum Hutchinson

If your business relies on the creative talents of your staff it would be wise to give them a working environment that stimulates the mind!


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Inspiring work environments which allow for both collaborative and individual working practices become a vital component in any successful creative business.


 

How does your office or studio environment compare to the best around, and what does it need to provide?

Providing a workspace that is comfortable and calm, and encourages productivity is the first building block in creating an inspirational office. These are the key factors to consider.

1)      Natural light

Any office space will feel restrictive and oppressive when there is limited access to natural light. In order for creativity to spark it is imperative that design studios, open plan offices and meeting rooms all have plenty of natural light. It is also important for our psychological and physical wellbeing, which all directly affects our ability to be creative.

2)      Room temperature/ventilation

It is widely recognised that being too hot or too cold can affect productivity in the workplace – and that definitely has a knock on effect for creativity.

3)      Noise

The issue of noise in the workplace is very specific to the individual, and particularly on the task at hand. The creative process usually starts with collaborative thinking, but noisy discussion is not helpful when concentration is required to bring ideas to life. Providing the choice between different environment means staff can decide where they will be able to work best.

4)      Smells

Smells can affect the mood and mind set of staff and evidence suggests that scent can have a powerful effect on performance. For example, pine increases alertness, citrus wakes you up and cinnamon improves focus. Why not give them a try?

5)      Crowding/clutter

Sensory overload when trying to conduct any creative task can lead to problems focussing. A bright, airy room will create space physically and psychologically to allow the creative juices to flow. Staff should be encouraged to declutter and dispose of old papers and equipment, storing as much as possible away from their workstation.


 

It is not just the building and layout that can have a positive effect on creative thinking but also the dynamics of spaces which allow and encourage collaboration and individual work, as well as the colours and visual stimulation in the decoration.

1)      Collaborative Working

Research shows that top performing companies spend 23% more time collaborating, and so areas should be provided where creative brainstorming and group sessions can be conducted without impact on others.

2)      Break out areas

The term ‘breakout space’ is really a mis-nomer. It suggests to staff and management that if they are seen there they are assumed to be having a break. The fact is that, with the right technology and environment, a breakout space will become an invaluable work area. The breakout space design should support spontaneous meetings, reducing delays in projects and decision-making and helping to seize the moment when creative thoughts can be developed into clear ideas.

3)      Quiet work areas

Just as collaboration spaces are important, so are areas that allow quiet individual work where creative ideas can be worked upon. Studies have shown that the provision for solo work, without distractions was the workplace attribute that had the greatest effect on individual performance.

4)      Colour and stimulation

It seems pretty obvious, but dull offices can stunt creative working. Access to a variety of colours, textures and spaces help create that inspiring interior all creatives desire. Introducing art, sculptures and plants to the office will work towards creating the right effect. Colours in particular can evoke both physical and emotional responses and so should be chosen carefully when looking at the different types of working areas being provided. For example, bright colours are associated with accuracy and focus, blue is calming, red is energetic, yellow promotes alertness and orange is connected with boosting self-esteem and enthusiasm.


 

Examples of companies doing the right thing:

Check out these great examples of companies really putting their staff first, and providing inspirational environments to work in.

Friday Media Group based outside of Brighton conducted an overhaul of their premises to attract and retain staff in a competitive employment market....

 

What about this inspirational interior at Shiplake Court in Berkshire. A traditional library was given an overhaul to inspire creative thinking and encourage use of the facilities...


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Topics: Office Redesign, Productivity, Design Inspiration

Callum Hutchinson

Written by Callum Hutchinson