In recent years, it’s become common knowledge that our working environment affects our mental health, with studies showing that dingy, oppressive offices cause us to feel more stressed, even when not at work.
It’s also come to light that the state of our mental health has a direct impact on our creativity levels, and so a cyclical effect forms – the more depressing and uninspiring our workplace, the worse we feel – and the worse we perform. None of this is good news for business owners, which is likely why we’ve seen such a sharp increase in bright, spacious, beautifully designed offices come to the fore over the past decade.
If this resonates with you, it might be time to give your office an overhaul. Read on for some simple tips for achieving a workspace that’s both creative and conducive to ultimate productivity, but first…
What is a creative office space?
Most of us have heard the term ‘creative office space’ bandied around – especially over the past couple of years – but what does it actually mean? Is it to do with art, wall colour, lighting or layout? Or is it more about outside-the-box facilities such games areas and chillout zones?
The answer is any and/or all of the above. A creative office space is somewhere that breaks free of the stifling cubicle culture of times gone by. It is somewhere that’s playful and open – inviting creativity, flexibility and collaboration. There are no set rules, but there are some key principles… here are some of the best ways to incorporate them into your own office:
1. Make things feel as spacious as possible
For an office space to feel truly creative, it must be open and spacious. Clutter is the enemy of productivity, and can induce feelings of stress and hinder creative thinking, so make sure to utilise plenty of clever storage to keep things in order. You could also try ditching unused desks in lieu of flexible spaces and common areas filled with stylish sofas, coffee tables and armchairs for a laid-back, spacious vibe.
2. Keep it bright and light
There’s nothing like a dull, dingy space to kill creativity, so strive to make the most of natural light in your office by using bright and light decor colours. Enhance feelings of wellbeing, too, through using natural materials and introducing plenty of plants to the space. Bringing some of the outdoors in can also help counteract stress, and it’s an easy design win if you’re using serviced offices, for example, and can’t mess too much with the decor. Perfect.
3. Think carefully about aesthetics
As well as inducing feelings of calm, a creative office space should feel exciting and inspiring. That means thinking imaginatively about aesthetics, and making use of thought-provoking design that feels fresh and ahead-of-the-curve. No one wants to feel like they’re working in a space that’s dated or old-school, so make sure to utilise design that gets your employees talking for the right reasons.
4. Introduce a reading room
It’s not only novelists who suffer from writer’s block. Strategists, copywriters, account managers, graphic designers and many more professionals rely on feeling inspired to be able to come up with the kind of ideas that deliver great results.
With this in mind, make sure your employees are able to feed that inspiration by providing them with facilities to do so. Reading is a great way to get the creative juices flowing, so dedicating a space to just this in your office could really pay off in the long run. Fill a cosy nook or old meeting room with a range of books both related to your industry and more abstract to help fuel pitch-winning ideas.
5. Fight monotony as best you can
There’s nothing more detrimental to creativity than a sterile, monotonous space that lacks character and intrigue. To counteract this, break up work spaces with interesting artefacts, such as sculptures and wall art, and disperse interesting, aesthetically-appealing furniture throughout your office in order to avoid that pitiful, sea-of-all-white-desks look.
Making your office space look and feel more creative may feel like a lot of effort to go to – especially when it may take a while to feel the benefits. But when you start to notice a change in your staff, realising that they’re more motivated, productive and creative, you’ll know you made the right choice. A workforce that actually looks forward to coming to work and reaping your business big rewards? Sounds good, when you put it like that.