Transforming a workplace into a productive, creative environment can be daunting. In order to do so effectively, there is a plethora of factors to consider including desired results, aesthetics and employee well-being.
A particular organization’s definition of productivity and creativity depends on the particular industry at hand. Employees must be comfortable in a space to be productive and generate creative ideas. Once an employer decides on desired results from employees, it is possible to design the appropriate space to attract the sort of people who are capable of delivering those results.
Think of this as working backward. To create a comfortable space, one must have an idea of the perspective of the person being recruited. For example, an engineering firm might elect for clean lines and transparent materials, whereas a newspaper office might choose dark, finely finished wood and ornate, curved architecture.
Ideally, function and aesthetics partner to appeal to the intended employee base. Depending on the trend of personalities in the office, physical office layouts may differ. If the space is dominated by introverts who do many tasks independently of each other, partitions, doors or cubicles may be most effective.
However, if teamwork and active communication are a priority, clusters of work spaces closer together without dividers may be the key to organizational success. Decisions around physical office layout are often based on trends and patterns rather than specific employees.
This way, employees are attracted to the space, while incompatible players may be empowered to find a better fit elsewhere.
Shapes coincide largely with function. A kidney-shaped table can be conducive to one-on-one meetings, while a large, round table lets everyone see everyone else at a large gathering.
Large tables with edges may fit better in small spaces, allowing better traffic flow. The needs of a space determine the materials in it.
Think of textures like an accessory that can make or break an outfit. Textures can be used to pull the eye toward or away from certain focal points. They can also help tie a space together or break it up. Strategic placing of textiles like chair upholstery, flooring, curtains and lampshades can have a significant effect on the way a space feels.
Choosing to tie in more atypical elements like floor pillows or cushions can have a positive effect on creativity (depending on the employee base) by fostering comfort and adaptability. Employees would understand that they were free to work in spaces outside desks and standard chairs, which may encourage independence and freedom. Happy employees generally produce more creative work than dissatisfied employees.
Color is a monumental element to designing a workspace, whether applied to walls, furniture, or other décor. Color Wheel Pro has thorough descriptions of each color and its supposed effects.
• Orange: creativity
• Yellow: happiness
• Green: growth
• Blue: inspiration
• Purple: majesty
• White: purity
• Black: elegance
Naturally, many colors are not included in this short list. Often, the gut feeling someone experiences while looking at a particular color is the best judge of how the pigment will affect others. In order to foster creativity, one might consider incorporating orange or purple into the design palette.
Pattern is another accessory, much like texture. Cushions, furniture, curtains, flooring, pillows and throws are all excellent options for adding pattern to a space. Keeping patterns consistent fosters more feelings of structure, while mixing patterns adds more whimsy.
For example, if someone’s kitchen was dressed in the same pattern of plaid from curtains to dishtowels, it would have one kind of feel. Conversely, if the same kitchen space was decorated with plaid, a complimentary floral and solid colors all in the same family, it would feel very different.
Note:If mixing patterns, vary size and scale while sticking to the same color family in order to keep the space feeling unified.
Mixing and Matching
Not only can patterns be mixed, so can styles of furniture. Ordering all pieces from the same vendor will keep the space feeling cohesive, but can also feel standardized.
To inspire creativity, consider mixing textures and patterns at the same time. For example, some of the chairs in a space might resemble office chairs while others look more like dining room chairs. As long as the colors and textiles are in the same families, pieces are free to play against each other.
If the employer and designers feel inspired in a space, there is a significant chance that employees will too.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, health and alignment are key factors to selecting office furniture. Nobody can feel very creative if backs are aching, heads are pounding or wrists are throbbing. Again, factor in employee work style and personality trends to determine which types of desks and chairs are appropriate. There are workstations available that make it possible to switch from sitting to standing and vice versa.
Similarly, it may benefit employees to offer a variety of chairs rather than one model so that different body types can find comfort while seated for long periods of time. Pillows or yoga cushions can be utilized to elevate hips above knees, so that a curve is maintained in the lumbar spine while seated. An option for ergonomic keyboards is typically helpful to support wrists.
Finally, have mouse pads available if using standalone mice so that devices do not fall off of furniture repeatedly. Fostering healthy alignment will benefit employees in the short term and the long term. Prioritizing this aspect of health also lets people focus their energy on productivity and creativity rather than aches and spasms.
To choose workplace furniture that supports creativity, managers and executives must take efficiency, practicality, desired results and personality information into account. If this multidimensional approach is utilized to make decisions about furniture from psychological, stylistic and alignment standpoints, there is a high likelihood of inspiration among employees.
When people feel comfortable in a space, they are more likely to be their best selves. By respecting perspectives and ideas from different people creativity can truly bloom.