How to Promote Creativity in your Serviced Office Space
The most successful businesses are those that inspire employees and cultivate a culture of challenging the norm. Take Google, for example, famed for its unorthodox offices around the world. The online giant has ditched rigid corporate layouts in favour of bowling alleys, pool tables and spiral slides, all with the intention of boosting employee engagement and encouraging creative thinking.
Google knows that environment influences creativity, so organisations with exciting workplaces are likely to have more motivated employees. This does not bode well for British businesses—UK offices have been found to be the least inspiring in the world. According to a recent Ipsos poll, 13% of British workers find their workplace to be ugly and uninviting, almost twice as high as the global average.
This could stem from the fact the UK has the largest serviced office sector in the world. According to Easy Offices, a leading serviced office provider in London, many companies are attracted to the flexibility of serviced offices and use them as temporary premises while their business grows. This is particularly significant in a country where more than 600,000 new startups are launched each year.
However, serviced offices usually come fully furnished and due to the ephemeral nature of the lease involved, occupants are often prevented from making major changes to the space. Nonetheless, rarely will a serviced office provider prevent you from putting a personal touch on the office, as long as the markings aren’t permanent. So how can you promote creativity in a serviced office?
Adopt urban zoning to create collaboration areas
Much like land-use planning in a well-organised city, it’s good practice to have dedicated zones around the office. For instance, employees should have access to communal areas where they can communicate with colleagues, private areas where they can focus on important tasks and breakout areas where they can escape the clutches of the computer screen for a little while.
Collaboration is a great way of generating innovative ideas. No longer is a singular genius behind most major breakthroughs. Instead, the biggest innovations happen when people with a collective vision but varying skillsets join together and share ideas. To let collaboration occur naturally, relaxed spaces where groups are able to think more openly need to be provided.
However, it’s important to strike a balance between collaboration and concentration. Private areas void of distraction should also be created, giving employees a space where they can give a project their undivided attention.
In some serviced offices, it may not be possible to rearrange the original layout. Because of this, it’s recommended to choose a serviced office with flexible rooms. In these spaces, collapsible partitions allow you to change the size of your office instantaneously, adapting the workplace to suit your needs.
Maximise colour psychology to stir the imagination
For centuries, artists have used colour to manipulate the way we view art. The same principles should be applied to office design, as colour has been proven to influence human emotion and behaviour. In a serviced office, you’ll seldom be able to make wholesale colour changes such as painting the walls. However, with a basic understanding of colour psychology, you can accent the workspace with hues designed to get the creative juices flowing.
According to a study published in Science Magazine, offices with predominantly blue colour schemes boost productivity in employees. Blue also helps with creativity by opening the mind to fresh ideas. Juliet Zhu, a researcher of colour psychology, believes most people associate blue with openness, peace, and tranquillity, which in turn makes people feel safe about being creative and exploratory.
Alternatively, green has the ability to spark inventiveness in employees. A 2012 study, published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, found that people in green surroundings come up with more imaginative ideas than those in red, blue, grey or white surroundings.
Bring nature inside to give the office a breath of fresh air
There are few things that inspire quite as much as the great outdoors. Just 20 minutes spent in a natural setting can decrease levels of cortisol in the body, a hormone directly linked to stress. Nature is also beneficial for creative thinking as it stimulates all five senses. A University of Kansas study found that four days of immersion in nature can increase creativity by as much as 50%.
Working outdoors is often unpractical, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring the outdoors inside. One of the most effective ways of doing this is to have plants around the office. The widely-cited NASA clean air study found that employees working in offices with plants were 15% more productive than those without.
It’s also important to make the most of natural light. Researchers have found a strong correlation between exposure to natural light during work hours and the hours of sleep employees get. Workers who sit near to windows sleep for 46 more minutes on average than those deprived of natural light. Unsurprisingly, well-rested employees are likely to be more creative than those suffering sleepless nights.
To maximise natural light, use an open plan layout with desks positioned by windows. Be mindful that direct sunlight can cause glare and heat, but adjustable blinds can be fixed to ensure lighting can be adjusted accordingly.
Given the demands and competitiveness of modern business, offices need to be innovative environments that spark imagination and collaboration. Nature, colour schemes and communal zoning are three elements that engender creativity, or, if you’re like Google, you could always bring in funfair rides, candyfloss machines and ball pools. The first idea seems more practical somehow.