Great Designs: 10 Fun Things to Have in the Office
If there’s one thing Google has taught us, your office interior design doesn’t need to be dull. In fact, a fun office is often a more productive one. Dr Travis Bradberry, award-winning author of the bestselling book, ‘Emotional Intelligence 2.0’, said the best companies to work for understand the importance of allowing employees to let their hair down from time to time.
“The idea is simple: if work is fun, you’ll not only perform better, but you’ll stick around for longer hours and an even longer career.” So in the spirit of encouraging higher productivity and employee satisfaction, and part of our ongoing Great Designs series, we’ve compiled our Top Ten list of ways of making your office fun.
1. Informal Work Spaces
When planning a new office design, consider adding informal working spaces to give staff the chance to relax and chat - a great way of encouraging creative ideas which could benefit your business in the future. However, you need to make sure your staff understand that they have permission to use the space properly. The Harvard Business Review published the findings of one researcher who reported that in offices where ‘real work’ was deemed to only happen at a desk or in a meeting room, informal spaces didn’t work.
2. Fun Office Accessories
Don’t just opt for the cheapest or most practical office accessories. Allow people a bit of leeway to choose the more expensive options so they can make their desks more colourful and fun. Many accessories these days can be totally offbeat and quirky - if someone really wants a stapler in the shape of a crocodile that much, why not allow them to bring in their own? You might even make savings in the stationery budget!
3. Forget the Office Dogsbody, Get an Office Dog
Dogs in the office can have surprising benefits. Scientific studies have discovered a significant decrease in stress and increase in job satisfaction amongst employees in offices with dogs. Obviously, someone will have to walk the dog or take it outside for lamppost breaks, and taking desk-breaks and keeping active will also be benefit your staff in terms of health (fewer sick days!).
4. Embrace the ‘Outdoor Office’
Have you ever tried to hold a meeting in a stuffy boardroom, desperately trying to get people’s attention when it’s obvious that all they’re doing is staring out of the window wishing they were in the fresh air and sunshine instead? There’s an easy solution which will please everyone - take the meeting outside. Being outdoors has proven to boost creativity, focus, enhance mood and self-esteem and boost health and wellbeing - doing all that at the same time as working truly is multi-tasking!
5. Bring the Outdoors In
Given the benefits of the natural world, try adapting your office interior design to incorporate elements of the outdoors. Have more plants - they’ll not only oxygenate the office and provide the lush greenery which has a positive effect on mood and stress reduction, they can also be used to provide extra privacy (a game of hide and seek anyone?). But make sure you remember to water them.
Everyone likes to feel special, so whenever there’s anything worth celebrating, make sure you do! Don’t just stick to birthdays, you could mark any occasion you like, e.g. staff anniversaries, new clients, victories etc. If you can’t think of any special reason to celebrate, find out which celebrity has a birthday that day and use that as an excuse to bring in a cake.
7. Something to Look Forward To
It’s natural that some of your employees will become friends and do things together outside work. So why not formalise it and organise social activities which everyone can join in with if they want to, e.g. pizza nights, bowling, pub quizzes, sports teams etc. Put up a list on the staff noticeboard for people to add their names to. You’ll probably find a member of staff who’s happy to organise each event and it needn’t cost the company anything - though obviously donating a few quid towards it will go down extremely well...
The internet is an infinite source of things that make people laugh, so don’t stop people sending each other pictures and jokes they find funny because it’s not ‘proper work’. Obviously a sense of humour is a very subjective thing and what someone finds hilarious, someone else will find offensive, so it’s a difficult path to tread. However, there are some universally funny subjects which, even if they don’t find hilarious, people at least can’t be offended by - most likely to be populated by cats of course: Simon’s Cat is probably one of the best examples of this.
9. Workers’ Playtime
Happy people aren’t just less stressed, they also work harder. Giving people games to play with is a great way of allowing them to let off a bit of steam, bond with each other, and make the workplace fun. If you’ve got enough room and a big enough budget, you could provide something like pool table or, for a smaller space and lower budget, a giant jenga game. Otherwise, make something up - organise a treasure hunt, a pop quiz, give people secret missions with prizes if they don’t get found out. Look online for ideas.
10. Bring some Google Magic In
We can’t talk about fun offices and not talk about Google. Google’s offices around the world are renowned for their playful office design. Their headquarters in Sydney, Australia, offer virtually everything you could think of if you’re trying to inject fun in your office, including sleep pods, scooters, games, music and even a parrot.
So if you’re looking to redesign your office interior to encourage your staff to have more fun at work, contact us for ideas.