Creative office is not only about bean bag chairs

We know that our work depends on many factors. The most obvious ones are knowledge, preparation, and the overall healthy lifestyle (yup, those eight hours of sleep really matter). There’s also an influence of the atmosphere in the office - it’s impossible to be motivated and creative when you count minutes until you can go home.

When it comes to the first two factors, employers can help their employees achieve great results by giving them the possibility to develop their skills as well as by ensuring they have a reasonable amount of tasks. Obviously, they can’t make them eat healthily and go to sleep early after all we're all grownups. ;) But there are some additional things you can take care of when creating an office space to ensure that productivity and simple happiness at the company (software house or not) is at its peak.

Give me some space!

Oh, space in the office; here’s the hot topic of discussion. Some people love the idea of open spaces. After all, some of the biggest and most successful companies (for instance Google and BuzzFeed) choose not to divide their employees into cubicles.

However, sit someone next to their loud or annoying coworker, and you will have a passionate opponent of sharing the space with the whole company. There were even studies that claimed that the idea of open space influencing cooperation and productivity is simply a myth. So, what should you do?

The star of today's photo is not Anita (although we like her very much!), but the stickers on her laptop! As you can see, she's repping our favorite technologies, fruits (bananas are like gold in our office!), and a variety of inside jokes. Now nobody is going to take someone else's computer by mistake! #sticker #laptopsticker #funny #working #work #focused #happy #atwork #djangohotspot #polishgirl #webdevelopment #webdesign #softwarehouse #poznan #poland #merixstudio

A post shared by MERIXSTUDIO (@merixstudio) on Oct 26, 2017 at 4:22am PDT

Well, you should simply be smart about your choice. In theory, open space was a genius idea that had nothing to do with the hip, penny-pinching millennials. It’s creator, Frank Lloyd Wright, took the concept of factory plans and created an office that was spacious and perfect in its design. However, let’s be real here, it may be difficult to copy it with satisfactory results.

In my opinion, the key to success when it comes to this debate is to combine both of these approaches. The idea of working in the cubicle could be alienating in the long run, but if you have an open space, remember about also creating places that will allow employees to retreat to if they want to work in confinement. Some companies do it by establishing quiet zones; some have chill rooms - just ask people what would work best for them.

With great space comes great mobility

It may sound silly, but if you have open space, you obviously should allow people to be mobile. If you don’t let people move around, your efforts to make the workplace comfortable will be wasted. So if your company still works only on desktop computers and see laptops as additional, unnecessary cost, please reconsider as soon as possible.

With added mobility, Scrum sprints and daily meetings will be a lot easier. If you want to escape the open space or want to get out of the cubicle, with the proper equipment (i.e. laptop), you can easily do it. Something as simple as a change of scenery can help when you feel distracted or stuck. Believe me, I’m travelling all over the office when I write! ;)

Green thumbs up!

Having plants in the office is not only a cheap way to make the interior a bit homier. There are studies that prove the worth of having greenery next to your desk! Dr Chris Knight from Exeter University researched this matter for ten years and found out that people are 15% more productive when working in a place with plants.

In the middle of this cold and dreary season it's good idea to add even more greenery to your workplace. 🌿Thanks to the efforts of our #GoDealla team we now can pretend that it's almost Spring - @oaniaoania, @m_woj_ciechowska and @unefilledepostrock, you are simpy the best!💚 #greenoffice #plants #pottedplants #green #officelife #officedecor #office #smalljungle #indorjungle #flora #loveit #greenery #softwarehouse #webdevelopment #poznan #poland

A post shared by MERIXSTUDIO (@merixstudio) on Jan 25, 2018 at 4:18am PST

Obviously, there are also such factors as the better air quality but turns out that a splash of green reduces tension, anxiety, and many other symptoms of overworked people. There are no downsides, so what you are waiting for? *

*Well, there's the hassle of watering, but a simple Slack reminder will solve this problem. ;)

Make it personal, make it fun!

People are scared of working in big corporations and see them as soul-crushing. While in some instances this can be true, not all big companies have to feel like a bland trap you have to be stuck in for eight hours a day.

Allow people to make their workplace personal - be it simple stickers on laptops or trinkets on desks. If you have a chill room (as you should), how about decorating it with pictures from team outings and integration parties? I know that work is about working, but sometimes adding a foosball table will help to increase the productivity. What's better, sitting behind the desk while your brain is rotting with tiredness or giving yourself 10 minutes break and coming back to work recharged and with new energy?

It's a bird?! It's a plane? It's Superman?! Not this time! The one who does not know what kind of superhero is on the desk of our PR girl would undoubtedly be in trouble in Gotham. With bravely guarding Batgirl, @jarkatrocka prepares for you new, awesome newsletters! With such guardian, we can be sure nobody will interrupt her! #batgirl #desk #merixstudio #officedesk #wednesday #softwarehouse #software #geeky #pr #prmanager #deskday #attheoffice #IT #workplace #Poland #polishdev #developer #batman #batmanlover

A post shared by MERIXSTUDIO (@merixstudio) on Jan 24, 2018 at 3:45am PST

If you can, make your space flexible - we chose to add blackboard walls that people could draw on. Some of us wanted to create an elaborate, permanent mural with Scrum/Star Wars theme, for others it was simply a blank canvas to scribble on. Our QA Team, on the other hand, created a chart that displays the scores in their internal competition. One thing is sure - it feels like "your place" when you can add something from yourself.

Work is not only about work

Those tips are a bit obvious, but sometimes we have to remind ourselves that workplace, in order to be successful, can't only be about work. People spend a big chunk of their life behind the desk with the same people next to them. If they feel that the space around them is suffocating, they will look for something else that will match their needs. However, if they feel included, they won't need to look for something better. My coworkers (mainly Anita, Maciek, and Ania) did a great job at creating a space that's perfect for our software house - good job, Guys!

I left the most important advice for the last paragraph of this article - if you want to create an inspiring, comfortable space, you need to listen to the people you work with. As I've said at the beginning of this article - for some people open space works, wor others it's a living nightmare. What you need to know is what's right for "YOUR people" - with that knowledge they will be "yours" and won't look for another job anytime soon.

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