Thursday, June 12, 2008

No creativity in the office? Buy some paint

More small businesses are using creative design to boost employee creativity. From electronic dance mats to white board covered walls, offices are implementing new creative tools into office design.

A recent article titled “Small businesses say no to a dull office” from the UK Times Online, examines small businesses that are drawing inspiration right off the walls of their workplace.

Shokk, a youth fitness firm that owns a number of youth-only, maintains a corporate environment that mirrors what their company does for the public. Employees are encouraged to use skateboards to travel around the office and relax by flying remote-control planes above their desks.

“It’s so easy these days to hide behind a PC and send out e-mails. Getting everyone onto the dance mat for 15 minutes followed by a brain-storming session has proved extremely effective,” said Kieran Murphy, Shokk managing director.

Along with fostering creativity in the office, the rapidly growing company hopes that its dynamic office environment will help attract fitting employees.

The Chief Happiness Officer (CHO) also thinks physical office space matters to enhance employee productivity, creativity and happiness.

“Many companies have buildings that are sleek, modern, architectural glass-steel-and-cement sculptures on the outside – and cubicle wastelands on the inside. These companies need to remember that most employees tend to work inside the building.”

Check out the CHO’s post on some “seeeeeriously” cool workplaces for some visual inspiration.

Gray cube walls do little to help foster employee creativity and do even less in reflecting the company culture you strive to achieve. It doesn’t mean you have to go out today and revamp your entire office. It could take as little as a can of paint or an interesting piece of art to start inspiring creativity at your office.

The CHO also shares some cool ways to “pimp” your workplace and add a little color to your workday. Here are a few favorites:

Softwalls – walls made from paper and felt that can be twisted into almost any shape you want.

Bean bags – you know what they are. Pick some bright colors, throw in a coffee table and you’ve got a super comfortable meeting room.

The Conference Bike – 1 steers, 7 pedal. Looks a little clownish, but also a lot of fun.

Art table – find a cool table in a cool shape or color and let the creativity flow.

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