One of the major design trends that have been exemplified throughout NeoCon 2017, is the idea of a creative workplace. Creative spaces are parallel to creative thinking, which is why new trends have emerged. Bright colors, bold textures, and obscure furniture are seemingly the way of future workplaces.
Richard Florida, an economist, and scientist stated, “ideas are the currency of the new economy.” As we experience an overwhelming amount of progression, originality is becoming more valued and sought after. Corporations aspire to foster forward-thinking individuals, which is exactly why creative workspaces are on the rise.
As experts within the corporate design industry, we’ve developed our own methods for creating optimal, creative spaces. At the core of creativity, is the idea of customization. Designing spaces around individual preferences is key for productivity and collaboration. With this in mind, we’ve outlined seven types of workspaces to showcase a thriving environment.
The co-working space is where habitual work that requires small to moderate levels of concentration happens: email, administrative tasks, and the more tedious aspects of our jobs. The mundane is a little more enjoyable in the communal setting. As a bonus, the convenience of sitting in close proximity to other colleagues often means emails are ditched in favor of faster, more productive conversations.
Most organizations value collaboration but give little thought to how workspace design helps or hinders this sought-after dynamic. In theory, open spaces should serve as a place to communicate. Unfortunately, earbuds have become standard equipment for those working individually. To combat acoustic pollution, team collaborations should be held within specified areas.
To boost creativity in collaborative areas, lounge-like vignettes and furniture reminiscent of spaces we’d design for our homes (or, better yet, our favorite coffee shops and hotel lobbies) should be installed. These designs are intended to lure employees from home and into corporate workspaces.
To access the portion of the brain that yields focus, executive function, reason, and higher thinking, it is necessary to create a space designated for concentration. One key requirement for this space is to remove distractions. Many organizations have built huddle rooms as a refuge from distraction to increase productivity. However, for space-constrained offices, this can be a challenging feat. Instead, room-specific rules should be set in place to combat unwanted conversation, noise, and distraction.
To boost employee morale and engagement, spaces should be designed to facilitate social encounters that give rise to critical friendships. Employees typically enjoy a happy hour to network and socialize at the end of the workday. Building a large, open kitchen boasting a bar or espresso machine encourages employees to stay and mingle instead of going off-site for food and drink.
Admittedly, there are benefits to social space beyond cultivating friendships that organizations would be well served to promote. Many of us credit caffeine as the fuel of genius; however, as TED speaker Steven Johnson explains, the value of coffee houses lies not in the product they serve, but in the space, it creates for great ideas to exchange and multiply.
Collaboration and co-working have obvious benefits, but there are both personal and business-related discussions that require discretion. A small room designated as a “phone booth” allows employees a measure of privacy for quiet conversations without the need to book an entire conference room, depriving multiple people of meeting space during that time. And, while the phone booth is comfortable for a conversation, it is small enough that it doesn’t encourage all-day encampments.
In-between spaces can be designed to facilitate employee “bump-ins,” which lead to innovation and shared knowledge. According to Stewart Brand, the designer behind MIT’s Building 20, physical proximity is necessary for “knowledge spillover.” Designing functional corridors can foster a transformative, collaborative space. Day storage, where people keep and retrieve their personal belongings, encourage employee run-ins, and spark conversation between departments.
As important as collaboration is – constant physical contact can create problems. Researchers at the University of California discovered that more than half of all employees complain about too little privacy in open offices. Creating a "home base" for individual employees to work can solve this issue. Personal belongings can be placed in designated areas such as desks, lockers, or cubicles.
For more information, check out our article on Workplace Productivity.