At Onyx, we have recently moved to a new floor in our building and with that, we have added some great changes I’d like to tell you about. The goal here was to create a space that was fun, innovative and collaborative on all accounts. (Here is another post about incorporating technology into the workplace: A Tech-Enhanced Workplace Equals Happy Campers) So you must be wondering, “what are fun, innovative and collaborative workplaces?” My definition? They are cost-efficient, sustainable work environments designed to bring together technology, flexible open space, and most importantly the right team to create a full force to enhance your business. According to an article written by Lois Goodell, Director of interior design at CBT Architects, careful attention to design can make a difference in the moods of your team members. As smart business leaders, it’s our job to lead. It’s about thinking beyond furniture layout and a fresh coat of paint.
Create that environment to help your team reach their full potential. The rewards you get in return are priceless.
So what do you need to create this innovative environment and why?
You can’t be afraid of upgrading or bringing in something new. More and more companies are moving towards less paper and faster ways to complete projects and deadlines, and older companies and their members must follow suit if they want to keep up. As I’ve stated before, you can have the best technology in the world, but without the right work culture, you will fail miserably.
For those of you who have not already jumped on the technology bandwagon, here are a few thoughts:
- Wi-Fi. Something as simple as access to Wi-Fi throughout your office for members and clients. Give them the freedom to move around and brainstorm with other members of the office while still being connected not just to Wi-Fi but to files. In fact, we even have Wi-Fi in the kitchen for a change of work environment with a fun, coffee shop feel. The ability to create, move, process is what it’s about.
- Smart boards. Smart boards provide flexibility by allowing many forms of media to be displayed. A chart, PDF, a sound bit…the freedom to change directions at any time. Your team members are given multiple ways to absorb, interact and share their ideas. There’s no limit to what they can do. This also offers multiple ways to convey the same message but while reaching a bigger audience: visual learners vs. auditory learners. Smart boards are also low-maintenance and take the hassle out of cleaning or maintaining. A great addition to any conference room.
- Video/Web Conferencing. It takes the hassle out of inconvenient, high cost traveling. Video conferencing provides a way to connect people across the world no matter where you are located. It allows you to conduct important business without feeling like you have to give up business. It is convenient, effective, and functional. I’ve looked into Skype, join.me, or GoToMeeting, and they are all affordable options, if you’re thinking of introducing this into your business strategy. Take out the hassle and bring in the convenience.
Creating an environment with conveniences can make a world of difference to the people that work with you. Introduce your office space so that it reflects the culture of your business. Since we spend the majority of our waking hours in the office, that building and our surroundings will have an impact on the day, week, month… According to Gallup, 70% of American team members aren’t working to their full potential meaning WE, business leaders, must provide an environment that stimulates and empowers those around us.
- Think about offering a quiet space for your team members to retreat. Why? It is a low cost approach to relieving stress in the workplace. Not to mention that this can attract higher quality team members and also reduce turnover rates. Sending a message that your company cares about the well being of your team members is not a bad message… it’s a great message. In 2012, Bright Horizons released a study that found 89% of team members with high levels of well being reported high job satisfaction and two-thirds of those team members were consistently putting in extra effort at work. Isn’t this what we want? Happy people that want to work?
- Let’s talk about lighting. Many offices are actually over lit with fluorescent lighting with no options to dim the light or turn it off, which creates a cold atmosphere. You don’t want your team struggling through the day wondering if it’s day or night. Phyllis Zee, M.D., a Northwestern Medicine neurologist, exposure to natural light, particularly in the morning is shown to have positive effects on mood, alertness and overall health. Pull up the blinds and let some light in. This might generate a jolt of creativity and happiness.
- Filling your office with the right colors is just as important as filling the office with the right people and equipment. Colors and other visual displays can affect an employee’s behaviors such as mood, attitudes and productivity. Dark colors such as dark blue, brown and black, de-energize workers and create sad environments whereas brighter colors such as yellow and orange stimulate and energize team members and blues and greens creating a calm environment. Since most offices won’t smack you in the face with a brightly painted orange wall, use these colors as accent colors to create the environment best for your team.
As our businesses grow and mature, as leaders, we must take into consideration the continual change and growth of technology with it. There will always be a newer generation of recruits expecting better ways to get where they are going, quicker and better. It’s our job to provide the tools and pave the way for success.