The tech world has a penchant for finding new ways to innovate. When it comes to office spaces specifically, sometimes those innovations can get a little out of control. While it’s not uncommon for a startup to brag about having a pool table or an open office plan (hey, Help.com has both!), some major companies like Google have really stepped up their office decor game.
Ridiculous, over-the-top office spaces can generate a lot of “Oohs” and “Ahhs,” but they’re obviously not affordable nor practical for the average employer. While these spaces do a great job of attracting recruits and looking great on the ‘Gram, the reality is that they’re not quite attainable. Especially for a growing company, investing time and money in a space you may quickly grow out of could be wasteful and counterintuitive.
So what’s the alternative? Should businesses give up their dreams of a hot tub in the lobby and a fire pole from the second floor? Should companies resign themselves to corporate monotony a la “Office Space”? (Fun fact: Parts of the movie were filmed down the street from our office.)
While working in an office Disneyland is largely unrealistic, your employees deserve more than a dungeon. Here are a few easy, economical ways we’ve changed our office space to make it a more productive, dynamic, and enjoyable place to work.
Here at Help.com, we know that working in the same spaces can be boring. Why stifle your employees’ imaginations? To encourage out-of-the-box thinking, create a space where employees can work outside. Something as simple as a picnic table can be enough to inspire your employees to think of the next great idea. Plus, research shows that working outside reduces stress and can increase cognitive function. Sounds like a win-win to us.
Why sit when you can walk? While of course this isn’t possible for every meeting scenario, there are some cases in which a walking meeting could be in your team’s best interests. At Help.com, many of our one-on-ones are walking meetings. A walk around the block can ease tensions, feel more casual, and is a great way to get a breath of fresh air. Plus, walking can energize your employees, foster rapport, and is good for your health.
Bring the Outdoors Indoors
If you don’t have the resources to work outside, at least make sure your employees are getting some fresh air. Whether it’s opening the windows for ventilation, bringing in sunlight, or just giving your team ample breaks so they can stretch their legs, it’s important that your staff has options. At the Help.com office, we’re lucky enough to have one giant door that we can open when it’s nice out. Employees like to take advantage of the good weather and post up on the office couch when it’s not too hot outside.
Drawing on the walls may feel naughty, but it doesn’t have to be. Consider painting a wall with whiteboard paint. Not only does it make your office feel more spacious, but it encourages your employees to get creative. Writing on the walls is a subtle form of boundary breaking which can encourage your team to generate ideas in new ways. Drawing is also a fun way to alleviate stress; if a random happy face or message on the wall can elicit a smile, then everyone wins.
Bring the Dogs
Look at this dog. Self-explanatory.
Work from Home
Dorothy said it best, “There’s no place like home.” Sometimes your staff just wants to work in the place they feel most comfortable. While it’s certainly a perk for employees, don’t neglect the benefits it may have for your business, too. According to Forbes, “two-thirds of managers report[ed] an increase in overall productivity” when their employees switched to telecommuting.
What suggestions would you add to this list? What has worked for your business?
Let us know in the comments below.