If you are trying to create a fun, fostering environment that will inspire your employees to creative brilliance, you have to go a little crazy. (Although running your own company will probably already have you well on the way).
I have always gone out of my way to create bright, colorful workplaces and done everything I could to avoid stuffy offices and dreary boardrooms. I can’t get excited about working in this environment, so how can I expect my employees too?
Nothing stifles creativity more than a drab, boring old school office. Those clichéd “motivational” posters on your wall are doing quite the opposite. Most likely, they are only motivating your employees to smash them to pieces.
And you’d better have a crazy compensation package on your dreary table if you think you are going to attract any top talent to your sad little office. These guys read blogs and watch enough TV to know what kinds of environment cutting edge start-ups are offering.
ReThink is one of the top advertising agencies in North America. And to stay there, stakeholders have gone a little crazy. Unless using a ping-pong table for a boardroom table or installing artificial turf for carpeting sounds normal to you? It’s a brilliant strategy, a physical embodiment of a corporate culture that insists on doing things differently.
It’s also brilliant because it didn’t cost them thousands. You don’t need fireman’s poles or foosball tables to compete with these guys, either. Bright paint, funky furniture, and an open concept go a long way in establishing a unique working environment.
One of the easiest ways to show how quirky you are is to let go of tired naming conventions for your boardrooms. One office I worked in named meeting rooms after the planets, with the furthest aptly named Pluto (it’s still a planet if you ask me). We all laughed pretty hard when the receptionist would say that the “CEO was still in Uranus and to please wait for him in the lobby”…
Have your employees brainstorm ideas or make it a contest to see who can come up with the best options.
Some of my clients balk at the idea of making the workspace easier to socialize in, but I am a huge proponent of it. One of the easiest and most authentic ways to build a world-class culture is to bring in a barbecue and use it often. The break from the grind is welcome, the conversation flows naturally and hey, who doesn’t love a free lunch?
I also encourage you to stock your lunchroom with fresh fruit and healthy snacks and to build “nap rooms”. If you expect them to work long hours to help you build your business, you have to provide amenities that make it easier and healthy.
You aren’t an old school company, so don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need an old-school office.