Mom was right. You are who you surround yourself with. But this mantra extends beyond the camaraderie of your pre-teen clique. More accurately, this should be “You are who and what you surround yourself with.” In the context of an office environment, this translates into designing a creative office space that will induce comparable creative tendencies. An environment optimized for creativity plays a significant role in your company’s productivity, collaboration, and morale.
At L7 Creative, it is of the utmost importance that we maintain an environment built for creativity. After all, “Creative” is in our freakin’ company name, so we’ve got a reputation to uphold. But we’ve got good news for you; we’re happy to unveil our secrets in constructing an environment that will foster creative thinking. There are countless office elements that may impact your creativity, but we’ve put together our Top 5 to get you started.
Researchers, Stratton and Zalanowski, found that music has the power to positively affect moods and enhance design perception. So it’s about time you get that Spotify account activated if you haven’t already. The right music can set the tone with an ambience that inspires creative thinking. Notice the key word here is “right”, because the optimal music for your office will be subjective. If you have a sound system that plays music throughout the office, you likely have one person in control of the playlist. Researchers, Stratton and Zalanowski, suggest that there is a “significant correlation between degree of relaxation and preference for music.” The potential solution here is to allow different people around the office the chance to control the music or allow people to contribute songs to a work playlist.
Good lighting is relatively easy to accomplish, so no excuses on this one! In a workplace environment, bright lighting typically promotes better moods. Bright lighting can improve efficiency and reduce fatigue. In contrast, researchers suggest gloomy weather correlates with a higher prevalence of depression. The philosophy of Feng Shui, an ancient Chinese teaching, supports our push for bright lighting. Feng Shui is all about the harmonious balance of elements to achieve equilibrium in an environment. Simply open up your blinds and/or turn on more natural light, and soak up that positive energy. You can even go the extra mile and purchase some full spectrum light bulbs that emulate a natural sunlight.
3. Healthy Snacks
That mid-afternoon time period when you had lunch three hours ago but dinner is still two hours away is rough (*sigh*). It’s challenging to think about anything besides food with a rumbling stomach, and even harder to think of out-of-the-box ideas. Stock your office with some snacks because let’s face it, it is really difficult to be creative when you’re hangry. However, it is important to note that not all snacks are created equal. This research study examined the impact of food on a person’s well-being, and found that a higher consumption of fruit and vegetables had a positive correlation with well-being, curiosity, and creativity. The reason being, is that fruits and vegetables contain critical nutrients for the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in creativity. So when choosing snacks, try to include a few healthier options.
4. Furniture & Decor
Something as basic as the paint color on your walls may be influencing emotions in your office. Just think about the contrasting feelings of being in a dark room versus a light room. Painting your walls light colors will make your office feel more spacious and airy. Beyond color, there are other elements of your office, like furniture and decor, that may impact mood. Trendy furniture and decor sets a subconscious benchmark that any work produced in that office has got to measure up to that standard. An inspiring piece of wall is a quick and easy way to add some stylish flair to your workplace. All these elements contribute to the energy in your office that conveys your company is innovative and keeping up with current trends.
5. Private Spaces
Private spaces allow people to “escape” and get out of their element. If you’re having difficulty with a brainstorming session or overcoming a challenge, sometimes a simple change of scenery will help trigger new ideas. Not only that, but these spaces provide additional areas for collaboration among team members. Designate some spaces or rooms intended for these getaways. Here at L7 Creative, we have designated an entire wall of one of our private rooms as a whiteboard. This allows team members to easily jot down, share, and visualize ideas. According to an article in Harvard Business Review, “Spaces can be designed to favor exploration or engagement or energy to achieve certain outcomes…” Different spaces can be optimized for different objectives.
Unleash Your Creative Superminds
Every creative individual has an origin story. That’s right… just like a superhero. But are creative people born, or made? We’ve learned that it’s a bit of both. Creativity can be an innate characteristic, however it can also be learned and enhanced. That’s why it’s critical to create an environment that exercises, enhances and keeps your creative, superminds sharp.
Author: Christina Gineris
Photographer: Kelsey Pickert