Have you ever googled: world’s coolest offices? You’ll find that Google emphasizes a creative work environment.
If so, you might first have appreciated the irony of finding Google’s offices featured in most articles that come up. Then, it might have suddenly occurred to you — like it did to us — how popular the topic of office decor has become.
But the question still stands: does a creative work environment and office decor really affect workplace happiness?
Does the color of the walls really affect our mood? Does the kind of furniture placed around the office help dictate how much work we get done? Does feng shui affect creativity?
According to a study published by the Scientific Journal, 90% of employees claimed their attitude toward work is adversely affected by the quality of their workplace environment. In fact, 89% of employees stated their workplace environment was responsible for their unhappiness at work.
Pretty unbelievable, right? Let’s investigate.
What We Mean by “Workplace Environment”
For the purpose of this article, a creative workplace environment is the physical attributes of an office: the decor, layout, and architecture of it. It’s the bare bones of a workspace, from the color of the walls to the spatial organization of the desks.
So what goes into a building a creative work environment?
If the goal is to fuel creativity, try following the advice of most creative writing professors: show, don’t tell. Create a setting where the company’s story and vision can thrive. Personalize the office to your company culture and , of course, have fun with it.
Here are a few basic ways to boost creativity and happiness at your office.
1. An Office with a View
Thoreau, Emerson, and Woolf famously spent much of their time writing in or near nature. In fact, what do most artists and writers studios have in common?
Employees working from a windowed office spend 15% more time on task than those without. Furthermore, it’s been proven that college students with natural views from their dorm room windows have higher attention spans than those who oversee the street or manmade structures.
Of course, getting a prime window seat in front of a natural landscape is difficult for companies working out of large cities. Just keep in mind that windowed offices are preferable to windowless ones, and try to snag a room with a view of a garden (wouldn’t this be nice?).
2. High Ceilings
Apparently, ceiling height can have a significant effect on how you work.
In 2007, professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota Joan Meyers-Levy conducted a study that showed that individuals in a room with higher ceilings are likely to be more creative, think more freely, and make more, “abstract connections.” Working in rooms with lower ceilings help individuals focus on details due to the resulting sense of confinement.
If you’re looking to promote creativity, choose high ceilings over low ones; this will make possibilities seem endless and encourage out-of-the-box thinking.
3. Short Naps
Did you know that short naps can boost cognitive function?
You’ve probably heard it before. Sleep is essential to memory, and dreaming has been linked to greater creativity and the ability to link unrelated concepts together.
It’s a common trend now for offices to have a “quiet room” or “nap room” where employees can go to grab some quick shut eye; decorating these rooms with hammocks or colorful bean bag chairs is a clear way of encouraging employees to de-stress. If it effectively boosts the employee’s ability to concentrate afterwards, why wouldn’t a company encourage it?
4. We’re Not Kidding . . . Cute Things
Cuteness induces productivity.
Yes, you read that right. According to a study conducted in Japan, looking at cute images helps, “participants perform tasks requiring focused attention more carefully.” So the occasional cat gif isn’t so bad for productivity; in fact, it may be time to pepper the office with cuteness (you’re welcome).
Continue reading Part 2 of this blog post!