You Are Where You Work

September 12, 2013 No Comments by Travis Jones

You Are Where  You WorkWork is not the same as it was 50 years ago, or even 15 years ago! Flexible work arrangements have thrown the traditional 9 to 5 out the window. In an effort to boost employee morale, productivity and engagement organizations are offering perks from bringing your dog to work to providing places to “play” during the workday. This month at LTAW we are talking about the unconventional in the workplace…which we are sure will someday become the new normal.

We are fond of the saying “you are what you eat” because it seems obvious that what we put into our bodies and minds eventually becomes a part of who we are. But what about everything on the outside of us? In what ways do our surroundings shape who we are and how we think? Some of the earliest examples of people who understood the deep impact of physical surroundings on human potential were the early Catholic artists from medieval history (note: if you are a medieval historian please refrain from pulling your hair out from my loose interpretation of history).

Churches of antiquity were built purposefully with specific goals in mind. The high vaulted ceilings were meant to draw attention to the heavens from the worshippers below. The basilica (or cross shaped) design of cathedrals was symbolic of the central message of the Church and the centrally placed elevated pulpits served as a reminder of the Bible’s authority. There was a clear connection between the physical environment and its influence on human behavior and thought. This seems like a distant world from the fluorescent-lit maze of gray cubicles that have come to dominate many work place settings. But things are starting to change.

There is a growing body of research and examples of unconventional, creative workspaces that illustrate the powerful effects that one’s physical space has on productivity and morale.  One study has shown that size, specifically large open spaces, is a vital factor for creating an atmosphere of creativity, in some cases more than how that space may be organized. Other research has highlighted the importance of allowing employees the freedom to organize and utilize workspaces to match their individual preferences and desires. Things like bringing in plants, pets or a favorite game, freedom to move furniture, or collaborating around white boards are all ways people utilize space to incorporate their different learning styles and personalities. There are even some experts that suggest that for some people, messy workspaces may be a factor in spurring creativity and thinking outside the box (i.e. think Einstein’s cluttered chalkboard).

What’s important in all of this is that businesses are starting to realize the direct relationship that workspace has on encouraging and developing creative and productive employees. After browsing several creative workspaces, here are a few that really stand out to us as fun, creative places to work. We hope the trend continues!

You Are Where You Work

 

You Are Where You Work

 

You Are Where You Work

 

You Are Where You Work

Do you work in a non-traditional office space? How has it helped or hindered your creativity/productivity? Tell us in the comments below!

Be Unconventional!

 

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