In the 1950’s, the general workspace looked considerably different than it does today.
Besides the obvious differences in the technological layout of a company (personal computers, digital screens, powerpoints, etc.) the layout of companies was completely different. Desks were ordered in rows very similar to that of the modern classroom, and there was no semblance of having your own space.
Fast forward to 1964, where Herman Miller came out with the “Action Office,” which is the early design of what we now call “the cubicle.” Companies clamored to buy this new office furniture in order to fit more employees into a smaller space. While cubicles do give you your own space in a cramped, claustrophobic kind of way, it separates you from human contact, keeping you disconnected from your fellow employees, and from their blossoming ideas.
Google, along with other tech companies, have blatantly gone against the traditional office space, and have instead made the workspace a fun and collaborative environment. What these companies have realized is that in order for employees to be productive, they actually have to have fun at work.
Being productive for 9 straight hours a day is impossible – just think about how many pinterest and instagram breaks you take at work. Think back to elementary school – there was a reason that we had recess. Just because we are getting older does not mean that the concept of recess needs to be lost.
Google, as most people know, goes a step further with its offices and offers gyms, pools, dry cleaners, nap pods, and you can even bring your dog to work!
While most companies are unable to implement the crazy amount of perks that Google does, it is possible for them to embrace the idea that cubicles do not foster collaboration or creativity. Companies looking to improve their employee productivity don’t need to buy IV drips for coffee, they just need to make the work environment collaborative, comfortable, and fun.
- Have a place that is dedicated to team collaboration that is NOT a traditional meeting room. Meeting rooms are notorious for low productivity.
- Get rid of the cubicle walls. Have your teams sit at desks, but remove both the physical and mental walls associated with cubicles.
- Add some color! Offices often feel the need to pick the same generic white/gray combination of decor, but it’s time to think in COLOR.
- Revamp the cafeteria. Food is how people take a break and bond. Make it fun – don’t give your employees flashbacks to high school.
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