In the race to getting super-fueled profits and the subsequent cold war of defeating the competitors, often this small but, powerful concept of office culture gets washed away.
This strong little word has the potential to increase your productivity five folds, but also can sabotage your goals by maybe say, 10 folds!
Building, maintaining and moulding a thoughtful office culture should remain the first and foremost priority for every business.
May it be the lunch break that is given, the meetings that are scheduled, the timings for the employees, a culture would emerge. Now, if that culture is productive, positive or is turning out negative for the growth of your company, it is solely your responsibility.
Confused about infusing a creative office culture at your workplace? Here are some solutions, that are working perfectly for our company:
This is solely a design-centric, user focussed world. Trust me, dull office light, humdrum walls, stodgy cubicles are definitely not a cool way to engage the employees. You don’t want them to feel like your slaves.
Large open spaces, cozy living spaces, big glass windows, adjustable tables, creative meeting rooms,beautifully painted walls (this has the physiological effect of giving the employees a warm and homely feeling) are a big help.
Heard about the concept of colour?
If you haven’t, let me tell you colours have a very strong potential of shaping a person’s mood. For instance, orange signifies high level of energy, so this color could be used for meeting rooms. Blue conveys calmness and a sense of trust. so this color could be used for rooms, where detail-oriented plans have to be made. White along with natural lights promotes creativity.
Tip based on my experience
Giving your employees beautiful, technological gadgets and computers to work on, could boost up their productivity infinitely (actually it boosts up their ego and satisfies their self-actualization need, so in a way they tend to work more happily, and hence productively). It was the happiest day for me when i got my Apple MacBook.
The design of the workplace should be inspired from the type of work
Tech people, for instance, need a place with slightly dim lights but the same doesn’t go with the marketing team. So design accordingly.
Give the employees the liberty to work at hours when they feel most comfortable. The rigid 9-6 time doesn’t suit the entire diversity of work-force (as everybody has their interests and commitments). People have different tempos, which makes them more productive during certain hours. For example, the developers are usually productive at the ‘quieter after-hours’. We, at RankWatch are allowed to come at any time before 12 (but of course we have to complete the 9 hours work). This strategy helps in building employee trust and coordination as well as works well for attracting a creative pool of people.
This is the area where the employees connect with each other; break the daily grid and let off the steam. This place is supposed to make people relax. Well amassed tables, good food, a nice build up canteen, some light music, an attached playroom is very innovative way to infuse creativity in the eating areas.
Confused? Now having these ‘days’, i.e., deciding their types, is totally your call. I can just give you examples based on what happens in our company.
Every Thursday, we sit with our respective teams for two hours before leaving for the day and do the brainstorming about certain issues that had occurred during the week and how we could work on them to further increase/improve the productivity. Now, the discussion can be related to anything from planning the next week, doing things in an innovative way etc. We call this ‘the brain game day’.
The other ‘day’ we have here is my favourite- ‘free food day’. We have this once in every two weeks. On this day, the whole team sit together and have their free lunch! (I have no idea who pays for that though). This really freshens everybody up and helps people across departments know each other better.
Don’t be the ‘bossy boss’! You don’t have to look down on people just because they are your juniors. Take aptitude into account, not attitude! Suggestions should be welcome from all team members irrespective of their experience. Create an open environment where people can openly disagree with your point of view. Always listen to their recommendations, they can add value to your plan. Reward your team if their suggestions work well practically. This can gradually build their loyalty and motivate them to bring up more creative ideas in the next discussion.
The strict ‘formal dress code’, the you-have-to-come-early rule that you think is nurturing professionalism in your office, trust me it is just becoming an annoying issue for your employees. Let go of these so-called, not-even required rules. ?We have a really comfortable protocol at our RankWatch office; our working hours are flexible enough, we can sit on beanbags if we feel like. It is fun to work in such kind of atmosphere.
One of the surest ways to get inspiration for innovation or creativity is to get disconnected from the daily routine and take a day off or two to rest or maybe travel (whatever suits you). Take your team out occasionally for a fun trip to celebrate a small success. Arrange theme-based parties in office sometimes. This is an evergreen way to recharge your employees.
If you have some other office tips in mind that can boost creativity, feel free to share in the comments.