How Much Is Too Much? Whimsy in the Workplace
Today’s workplaces strive to incorporate highly open, collaborative spaces that are branded around company culture. Workplace culture and environment are key elements in helping attract, retain and engage talent. In order to attain a temporary competitive advantage, many companies are designing workplaces which incorporate highly themed environments infused with fun, oversaturated colors and unconventional ways to work. But, are slides and ping pong tables a distraction or an added benefit when it comes to what employees really value? This overdone trend of adding play areas has started conversations about the lack of privacy, focus and individual space. Even if the approach of extravagant does attract the talent you wanted in the first place, how do you really ensure they stay?
When companies stay true to themselves, instead of trying to mimic the office design of other companies, this usually results in a win-win situation for the employee and the company. Unlike products and services, each company’s culture is so unique and cannot be duplicated. While playful office landscape might be appropriate for some corporations, it might be causing ambiguity and distraction in another. So how do you design a space that will help attract and retain the talent while increasing productivity and profitability of the company.
Balance is key when designing an effective office space. Everyone appreciates the basics; clean and well-designed office space. Make sure you design the physical space that supports how your employees work. Allow flexible workspaces where employees can choose to work in a group setting or a private and quiet space. Getting these simple areas right to begin with is great start for many companies. Focusing on health and wellness is a great way to show your employees how valued they are and it also helps them stay more productive. Injecting whimsy into the workplace does not have to be so extreme and physical all the time. Offering office perks can certainly add excitement and engagement of employees. Benefit of office perks is that they can change and evolve to support company culture. Company surveys are a great way to find out what perks employees would find most beneficial to ensure they are effective.
It goes without saying that whimsical office spaces have worked for many corporations and high-tech companies, such as Google and Facebook. The key ingredient is that they followed their workplace culture to get there. For these companies bringing down the walls of a formal office environment actually encouraged socialization and camaraderie, company culture is noticeable and playful which plays a strong role in recruitment and retention. Before you take the approach of a lavish office space focus on your culture and workforce first. Understand what your employees really want and trust your culture to develop the rest.