Build Branding and Innovation into Any Workspace
While well-designed interiors and workstations have always been considered “nice to haves” in office settings, they could actually have a greater impact. A growing body of research is finding that the environment employees inhabit has an impact on their creativity, innovation and productivity. A 2014 study by researchers at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands found that workplaces that support creativity were more innovative and able to bring more products to market than those which did not.
But your office should also be a strong representation of your brand, says Jen Salamandick, a partner at Kick Point, a marketing agency in Edmonton, the capital of Canada’s Alberta province. But doing so takes a thoughtful, strategic approach to design. Here’s how to accomplish both goals.
Combine design and function
Walk through the space, from the entrance to each area where customers and employees will visit. Think about the types of tasks that will happen in each area. Some businesses might require open floor plans to foster collaborative creativity—people can easily work together and give input on projects. However, some employees and tasks will require more private areas for small group collaboration or working alone. Be sure you’ve provided space for each, Salamandick says.
Focus beyond the lobby
Many businesses integrate design and comfort into the lobby and front reception area, then “everything drops off into a worker-bee environment,” says Mitch Dowell, founder and creative director at Washington, D.C. area-based branding firm Branding Experiences. He says it’s important to create balance throughout your space. Just as you have different “moods” and design approaches for various rooms in your home, think about how you can integrate function and design throughout your office.
Make break spaces comfortable and inviting so employees have a space to recharge, he says. Equip conference rooms with smart boards and monitors to give employees the tools they need to collaborate creatively. Create brief presentations that appear as screensavers on sleeping monitors that reinforce your brand or motivate employees, he suggests.
Choose the right lighting
Lighting is also crucial, and the most creative spaces don’t have uniform lighting. If possible, get employee input on lighting options, allowing them to use desk or floor lamps in addition to ambient and natural lighting. She recommends avoiding fluorescent lights, and adapting lighting for various job functions based on the employees’ needs.
“A lot of coders and developers like dark spaces, so you have to find a way to provide that, too,” she says.
Don’t forget the details
Branding touches can include logoed mugs on every desk, or company colors used on workstation chair backs or waiting area couch cushions, can add subtle but effective touches that reinforce your brand virtually everywhere you look, Dowell says. And be sure your team is involved in making design decisions.
“Getting them involved is a healthy exercise to be sure you’re designing to meet their needs,” he says.
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