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How to Design a Workplace that Boosts Creativity

02 February 2023

The kind of workplace design and culture you have can have a huge impact on employer creativity. An unorganized and uncomfortable workplace can result in disgruntled employees that face a lot of distractions and disruptions and can lead to inefficient work, low performance and productivity, and a high turnover rate.

In one survey, about 85% of employees said that workplace design was very important and that chairs, desks, and temperature control were the most important physical aspects of a workplace. If you have a desk job, then it is very easy for you to develop a bad posture and let clutter ruin the day. Hence, in order to stimulate creativity, it is important to build a workplace that offers convenience, comfort, and efficiency to the worker.

Designing for Creativity in the Workplace

Creating an innovative and engaging workplace design can encourage your creative juices to flow. Let's take a look at some of the design aspects that can result in happier, innovative, and creative employees that can resolve issues and think out of the box.



Open Plan Offices

Open-plan offices are not a new thing but they remain an important feature of the modern workplace. These types of offices are particularly great if you have a high density of staff and want to give them more elbow space. Open-plan offices also have some background noise which can provide privacy and allow employers to interact and share ideas with each other freely. Otherwise, you are left in a silent workplace, which can be good if your task requires a high level of concentration but is not that conducive to brainstorming and sharing ideas.

Some muted chatter and ambient noise can trigger the information filtration mechanism in your brain and help you spot important details in an easier way. Of course, everyone has a different noise tolerance so your workplace should also have spaces that can offer silence and opportunity for uninterrupted work.



Adding Flexibility

The most creative type of workplace is also the most flexible and embraces mobility. In modern offices, particularly since the global pandemic, many of the staff are remote, come to the office only two or three times a week, or are part-time. In addition, the use of laptops and smartphones means there is no need for assigned seating since any place can be transformed into a workplace, including the cafeteria, a simple bean bag, or even a window seat.

Designing a flexible workplace and choosing furniture that is portable and can easily be moved around and configured can increase workplace collaboration and create a stronger team spirit. Switching working space allows employees to move around and interact with other employees and people they do not usually talk to. A change in scenery can also reduce monotony and bring a fresh perspective to your employees that can kick start fresh ideas because your brain has the ability to make subtle associations with background sights, smells, and noise.



Choosing Comfortable Furniture

The choice of furniture is one of the most important aspects that can impact workplace creativity. The benefits of ergonomically-designed chairs, tables, and workstations are obvious. Workplaces that offer comfortable furniture that ensures correct posture and prevent injuries make employees feel they are cared for, ensure high energy levels throughout the day, perform their work more accurately, and boost creativity.

A workplace that offers a lot of elbow room and is filled with comfortable furniture allows employees to move around freely and sit at their desks in a comfortable way. On the other hand, offices that do not offer comfortable furniture often have a high rate of absenteeism from injuries, unhappy employees, and a demotivated culture, which ultimately leads to reduced performance.

As technology advances and more and more people are required to spend an increasing amount of time looking at screens, the importance of ergonomically-designed furniture will continue to increase.

Conscientious companies can prevent their employees from experiencing the aches and pains of a desk-bound job by introducing adjustable stands for monitors, laptops, and keyboard, like the Motorized AlcoverRiser EM7, that can adapt to the height of each employee and prevent neck, back, and wrist strains. Some companies also have standing desks that encourage employees to work while standing for a portion of the day. Research has shown that standing desks were effective in boosting workplace performance.



Allowing in Natural Light

Nobody likes the feeling of being cooped up in a windowless cubicle with depressing overhead fluorescent lights. Stark-white artificial lighting can make the place appear confining and reduce motivation and inspiration. Over a quarter of employees say that they want their workplace to be better illuminated.

According to research, natural light has the ability to stimulate thought and boost employee productivity. If you work at a place that has plenty of natural sunlight, you need to make the most of it. In many cases, lighting from large windows may be complemented by subtle artificial lighting to make a more comfortable and illuminated environment. Alternatively, soft warm light can also create a soothing and peaceful environment, allow you to process your thoughts efficiently, and can inspire creativity.

A lot of offices use only artificial light to keep the workspace illuminated. However, research also shows that artificial lights flicker at a very high rate and are not constant in their intensity, which can result in eye fatigue and even retinal damage in severe cases. Harsh white fluorescent lights create a stark, sterile, and unwelcoming environment that can make the employee feel less comfortable and happy.



Bringing in Nature

To make your employees more motivated and creative, it is a good idea to give them a view of natural elements. This can be anything from placing lush green potted plants into the office, installing floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a view of tall trees and a vibrant garden, or encouraging employees to go out and spend some time with nature.

Biophilic office designs are all the rage these days. Modern offices are now incorporating more and more natural elements into their designs, including floors and walls made of sustainable wood, creating a natural spot inside the office like a fountain that provides the soothing sound of splashing water, or an interior rock garden filled with beautiful stones and succulents. Research shows that bringing natural elements inside can reduce stress and fatigue, boost energy levels, and improve creativity.



Implementing Fun Breakout Areas

The design of your office should be fun and colorful and should reflect your company's culture. Many modern offices these days are creating stimulating breakout areas and installing features like snack bars, games like pool or table football, and bookcases.

These areas are informal and casual and are littered with floor cushions, bean bags, pod seating, and hammocks, creating an atmosphere of relaxation. They provide employees with a more relaxing and fun place to work or the chance to just hang out with each other and discuss something other than work.

The art installation can also create an imaginative work environment and spur inspiration.



Adding a Pop of Color

A sterile and stark environment is not conducive to creative thinking. Colors are a powerful tool that can uplift your mood, increase your energy levels, help you get down to work in earnest, and do better. Splashes of warm colors like reds, oranges, and yellow make the space seem vibrant and welcoming, while colors like blues, greens, and certain earthy tones create a tranquil environment that brings nature to your mind and improves your thinking.

Although bright white color gives a clean and crisp look to an office, if used by itself without any other colors as an accent, it is not the best choice for boosting creativity. However, there are several modern offices that choose bright white walls but make the space more inviting by adding colorful paintings, large pots of plants, and natural- or pastel-toned furniture which can make the entire office stand out.

Chairs that have red, blue, and even bright yellow backs and seats are a popular choice among modern offices. Many offices with white walls can create warmth by having a wooden floor, wooden desks, and wooden trims with natural polish and finishing. Some offices also create a focus workstation which involves a large table with colorful elements where employees can come and work when they like.

As such, workplaces that do not want to add the significant expense of repainting the entire office have plenty of other ways to add a splash of color. Adding colorful accents is just as effective as repainting or redecorating your entire office.

Final Thoughts

To create a creative workplace, you need to be flexible and open to new and innovative design ideas. When it comes to building an office that inspires creativity, the above list is just the tip of the iceberg --- there are a million and one ways to add elements that make your workplace more peaceful, happy, inspiring, and collaborative.

The great bit is that it doesn't have to be expensive either. You can foster a culture of creativity and inspiration by doing small things that have big positive effects.