6 Ways to Design a Creative Workplace
Keeping the stability and efficiency of the business is crucial to any company. Crafting the perfect business model is one thing. Creating the environment to make it all happen is another.
In the business world, the word “workplace” does not just refer to the physical setting where you do your work. It also includes how you work, why you work, and who you work with. Maintaining the harmony of all these aspects will be helpful in designing a creative and productive workplace for everyone in your organization.
Get the perfect space.
Office space is one of the first priorities in establishing a business - its residence, its own place on the map, the physical embodiment of the company. Although virtual offices are fast becoming a trend, it is still important to have an avenue for actual human interaction among members of the company.
Your office must make a statement. People thrive in places of comfort, fun, and inspiration. They are after the experience. Make it exciting and comfortable at the same time, but still display the culture of your company. Make their surroundings stimulate creativity and hard work. You can have DIY art walls, motivational bulletin boards, eye-appealing office decorations, and plant fixtures.
Make your workspace interactive. Good performance requires a full tank of energy. According to the World Green Building Council, an active office design can encourage physical movement to maintain healthy blood flow after long sitting hours. Ideally, there should be a designated common area specifically for “de-stressing” where they can take a break, do recreational activities and socialize with co-workers, thus promoting the value of work-life balance and creating relationships among your teams.
Do not execute a one-size-fits-all approach in managing your employees.
Start working from the very top, around the core values and policies of the company. Formulate these while taking into account the different characters and personalities in your workforce. Factors such as race, faith, gender, disabilities and other identifiers should be recognized and respected.
Aside from establishing your company as an inclusive and non-biased employer, it can also play into the work ethics practiced by your employees. For instance, companies that have a multi-racial workforce must be knowledgeable about the different cultures they practice. Different nationalities have been accustomed to different approaches when it comes to negotiation tactics, professional relations, decision-making norms, sensitivity to time, risk-taking, etc.
To accommodate a diverse group of people, it is essential to keep an open mind, have constant communication, and learn to mediate the differences among your employees.
Set common goals.
Before expecting your employees to deliver output, be clear about what they will work for. There must be a communicated reason for their efforts. To get your employees’ genuine commitment to the company, mobilize them towards a common vision and mission.
Individual personal goals are good because all people have different motivations but it may result to different work ethics and perceptions of responsibility. To gain a common ground for all of them to stand on, provide them with big-picture goals that inspire them into action. Your goals must be encouraging, impassioned, and impactful. They won’t mean much to employees if they do not resonate with them. Facebook’s mission statement is "To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together." Grab’s vision is “an empowered future of seamless mobility, on-demand food delivery, logistics, cashless payments, and financial services for the people of Malaysia and Southeast Asia – all within one mobile app.”
Give them space for growth.
In reality, motivation is not necessarily equivalent to performance. Skill still plays a huge factor. Employees, nowadays, are not just concerned about paychecks. They want opportunities that would direct them to new learnings and experiences. That is why people are attracted to companies that are big on self-improvement.
You must know each of your employees well so you can identify how to bring out their full potential. Know how you can expand their abilities and provide direction for career progression.
Equip your workers with mentorship programs and learning sessions. Do cross-training to expose your employees to the different functions and departments of the company. In this way, you can also prevent issues of monotony and boredom from surfacing in your workforce.
You can only guide your employees to a certain extent. It is also important to give them their own space. Allow them to figure out how they can improve themselves on their own, how they will enact the lessons you gave them, and the direction they want to pursue.
Make sure all teams are aligned.
After mobilizing your workforce towards a set of goals, the next thing to do is to make sure they are on the same page. Have a setup where your teams and team members are working closely together. Demonstrate the workflow process clearly; how each department affects the other, how it creates a ripple effect, leading to either success or downfall. Every change and adjustment in policy and process should be communicated to involved parties.
A report done by Geckoboard found that over 50% of 20,000 in the US and UK claimed that company updates and data sharing have an impact on their productivity. You must incorporate software tools for better alignment and tracking.
Be less directive, more collaborative.
Your employees are your company’s lifeblood. Just like the anatomy of the body, all organs work together for the preservation of the whole entity. The physical work each one exerts and the values they practice shall stand for the limbs and heart of the company.
That being said, the hierarchical model of command where “I lead, you follow” continues to become obsolete. Every role must be allowed to give insights on how the system works. Do not keep them in the dark. Important company updates must be cascaded down to all levels of the company. ALL individuals down the organization structure should be, in any way, involved in the planning and decision-making processes. Create an atmosphere where each individual will be confident to participate and share his or her own contributions.
Make manager-team gatherings a religion. You may also organize all-hands-on-deck meetings where all your employees down to entry-level staff get to interact with the top executives of the company. It is advisable to hire a diverse mix of people so you can have more input from different perspectives. This setting can expand the picture for the whole organization. Individuals can complement their own knowledge and experiences to co-workers with limited familiarity in certain subjects. In this way, the bubble of intelligence grows bigger.
Every company is different - different cultures, different objectives and different human assets. Incorporating these recommendations can allow you to leverage what’s unique in your business to establish better relationships with your employees and create a more conducive work environment.