Posts tagged creativity
How the Physical Environment Influences Work
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Architect Clive Wilkinson, a recognized leader in workplace design, is responsible for some of the most creative office spaces in the world. With a thoroughly modern approach to the way we work, his firm has created spaces for Google, Twentieth Century Fox Digital and countless other business leaders using everything from hanging pod chairs to bean bags and breakfast bars.

At the annual Workplace/Work Life conference, Wilkinson spoke about how the way we work — and our ability to be productive — is shaped by our environment. “Offices are becoming more like homes as lifestyle becomes increasingly important and companies compete for talent,” he explains. “Our world is now ideas driven and our environment needs to be energetic, inspiring and even provocative. Employers also want people to stay longer at work and making the space awesome certainly helps.”

If you are considering making a dedicated space to work at home, he says the best place to start is with a separate work area. “Separation from the family is highly desirable,” he says. “Work is a different state of mind from family concerns, which can be very disruptive. A separate studio is cool.”

For optimum productivity, he says a well-lit, well-ventilated work area is ideal. “We all need constant connection and engagement with nature and the world outside so good views, light and air are vital to our sense of well-being,” Wilkinson says. “Plants are restorative too.”

The need for a separate space at home is different to commercial offices, which Wilkinson says are veering towards open-plan design. “The driving reason to go to work is to collaborate and therefore most of the space should be configured to support that,” he says.

In commercial office spaces, he says there is now a stronger push towards keeping workers moving and less sedentary. “It’s a major concern in planning work space,” Wilkinson says. “People need to move around during the day to stay alert and healthy. We like to emphasize staircases over elevators and to locate amenities to drive people to move around.” But whether your office is a bus ride away or just at the end of the hallway, Wilkinson is a strong believer in well-designed workspaces.

“All people respond to their physical environment in a powerful way,” he says. “It could be very hard to do productive work in a messy home or it could be hard to do creative work in a formal office environment. We need to be mindful of what enables us to get into that state of flow.”

Content originally published in The Daily Telegraph, August 22, 2015.

Open Spaces Make for a Productive Workplace    
    In a recent  New York Times  article, “ Looking for a Lesson in Google’s Perks ,” author James B. Stewart recounts his colorful experience touring Google’s East Coast headquarters. His, “at times, dizzying excursion through a labyrinth of play areas; cafes, coffee bars and open kitchens; sunny outdoor terraces with chaises; gourmet cafeterias… [and] Broadway-themed conference rooms with velvet drapes…” served as an attempt to discern whether Google’s imaginative workplaces are responsible for the creativity and productivity of its employees.    
  One of Stewart’s observations about the  Google  offices particularly resonated with our team at Innovant: the open plan environment serves as the physical platform for Google’s intellectual advancements. In the article, Craig Nevill-Manning, “  a New Zealand native and Google’s engineering director in Manhattan,” explains the philosophy behind Google’s office environment.      “Google’s success depends on innovation and collaboration. Everything we did was geared toward making it easy to talk. Being on one floor here removed psychological barriers to interacting, and we’ve tried to preserve that.”   
  After his Google expedition, Stewart conferred with Teresa Amabile, “  a business administration professor at Harvard Business School and co-author of “The Progress Principle,” about creativity at work.” What he learned from Amabile was that    “there’s some evidence that great physical space enhances creativity.”    She added that,  “the theory is that open spaces that are fun, where people want to be, facilitate idea exchange. I’ve watched people interact at Google and you see a cross-fertilization of ideas.”    
  Another expert, Ben Waber, “who has a Ph.D. from M.I.T. and is the author of “People Analytics,” weighed in on workplace interactions.  “Google has really been out front in this field,” he said. “They’ve looked at the data to see how people are collaborating. Physical space is the biggest lever to encourage collaboration. And the data are clear that the biggest driver of performance in complex industries like software is serendipitous interaction. For this to happen, you also need to shape a community. That means if you’re stressed, there’s someone to help, to take up the slack. If you’re surrounded by friends, you’re happier, you’re more loyal, you’re more productive. Google looks at this holistically. It’s the antithesis of the old factory model, where people were just cogs in a machine.”   
  At Innovant, we understand Waber’s point that “physical space is the biggest lever to… collaboration.” For employees to thrive, employers must invest in an environment that breeds productivity and creativity. This type of investment in the workplace is sure to be an investment in the work that’s completed there.   

Open Spaces Make for a Productive Workplace

In a recent New York Times article, “Looking for a Lesson in Google’s Perks,” author James B. Stewart recounts his colorful experience touring Google’s East Coast headquarters. His, “at times, dizzying excursion through a labyrinth of play areas; cafes, coffee bars and open kitchens; sunny outdoor terraces with chaises; gourmet cafeterias… [and] Broadway-themed conference rooms with velvet drapes…” served as an attempt to discern whether Google’s imaginative workplaces are responsible for the creativity and productivity of its employees.

One of Stewart’s observations about the Google offices particularly resonated with our team at Innovant: the open plan environment serves as the physical platform for Google’s intellectual advancements. In the article, Craig Nevill-Manning, “a New Zealand native and Google’s engineering director in Manhattan,” explains the philosophy behind Google’s office environment. “Google’s success depends on innovation and collaboration. Everything we did was geared toward making it easy to talk. Being on one floor here removed psychological barriers to interacting, and we’ve tried to preserve that.”

After his Google expedition, Stewart conferred with Teresa Amabile, “a business administration professor at Harvard Business School and co-author of “The Progress Principle,” about creativity at work.” What he learned from Amabile was that “there’s some evidence that great physical space enhances creativity.” She added that, “the theory is that open spaces that are fun, where people want to be, facilitate idea exchange. I’ve watched people interact at Google and you see a cross-fertilization of ideas.”

Another expert, Ben Waber, “who has a Ph.D. from M.I.T. and is the author of “People Analytics,” weighed in on workplace interactions. “Google has really been out front in this field,” he said. “They’ve looked at the data to see how people are collaborating. Physical space is the biggest lever to encourage collaboration. And the data are clear that the biggest driver of performance in complex industries like software is serendipitous interaction. For this to happen, you also need to shape a community. That means if you’re stressed, there’s someone to help, to take up the slack. If you’re surrounded by friends, you’re happier, you’re more loyal, you’re more productive. Google looks at this holistically. It’s the antithesis of the old factory model, where people were just cogs in a machine.”

At Innovant, we understand Waber’s point that “physical space is the biggest lever to… collaboration.” For employees to thrive, employers must invest in an environment that breeds productivity and creativity. This type of investment in the workplace is sure to be an investment in the work that’s completed there.