How not to create an inspiring workplace environment!
It’s that time of year again when the halls are decked, lights twinkle at every turn, and the main topic of conversation at the tea point is the Christmas party: Are we having one this year? Did you know the budget has been halved this year? What’s the entertainment going to be this year…do we have to dress up – again?! And then of course there’s the post-party gossip to look forward to. The holiday season, it seems, is a part of life in many workplaces.
But what happens in the New Year? We come back to an office stripped back to its previous state – and it often feels really bare. So what can we learn from the Christmas Spirit when it comes to creating an enviable workplace environment all year round? Here are some practical tips to add to your workplace New Year’s Resolution list:
A touch of sparkle
Adding eye-catching touches to the working environment captures both people’s attention and imagination. Layering interest through different use of materials, objects, colour and light serves to draw people in and stimulate the mind in different ways. By contrast, a space completely devoid of colour or texture changes can have a dulling effect.
Bloomberg uses light and colour to layer interest over a relatively unadorned workplace environment.
Pick a palette
When Christmas decorations go wrong, it’s usually down to people either not doing enough or doing too much! Either way, throwing up a cacophony of mismatched and poorly places items usually results in something that looks like the aftermath of a brawl at a cabaret show. Christmas is typically themed – snowy white and ice blue or festive golds, silvers, reds and greens. And the choice of content is of course themed too. This (when done well) avoids a cacophony of visual stimuli. But how could this idea work in an office environment in the middle of July? Pick a number of colours and let people choose what they want in their areas. At Hasbro, employees are given a choice of four different wall paints for their area, so each has a personal preference, yet it works together overall.
Keep it changing
Most of us can deal with the gaudiness of Christmas because its time is limited! In the same way, you can be quite bold with your choices for your workspaces if you keep things fresh. The flip side of this is that people become acclimatized to a new environment over time – no matter how different it is. So, make changes temporary so you can refresh things that are becoming stale or simply aren’t working.
Spot the difference
That moment when we return to the office after a well-earned break only to find that the office feels sparce and boring provides us with an opportunity to notice the things that are missing, that are not working or are just plain awful with the working environment – and then deal with them. Whether it’s an unsightly pile of boxes that had been disguised by a Christmas tree or stains on the ceiling panels where tinsel once hung – get to work on making the basic workplace environment visually appealing – and then use that as a clean slate upon which to paint some interest.
The toilets at Exodus Travels pay homage to the destinations their holidays service. The ideas and revamp was done by internal teams.
Do it yourself – on a budget
There are some things that really don’t have to cost a fortune. And the less they cost, the more likely you are to remove them if they don’t work. It’s a great idea to get an internal teams to work on mini space-related projects – and if you set a budget and create a competition around them you can inject some momentum and fun too. At Exodus Travels, competing teams took on the challenge of refreshing the loos – and came up with some really exciting and vibrant ideas. Injecting workplace collaboration into the workplace can make for a continually stimulating environment.
One final thing: as with many New Year’s Resolutions, making your workplace environment inspiring will be more successful if you set realistic goals, get support from others and it fun!
Oh, and if you’d like to learn more about how Bloomberg uses sound in their workplace, read this article about Acoustics in the Workplace.