Forward-thinking business leaders understand that workers who are happy and feel company loyalty are more likely to put greater effort into the work, translating to better quality output and higher ROI. But what are the optimal conditions for the office worker? And how should one balance the competing priorities of client or customer work and the less pressing – but perhaps quite important – office design?
Psychology Today contends that a clean workspace, free from clutter and extra cords, is optimal. But many famous authors and artists would disagree. Elizabeth Moon is one of them: “Put me at a perfectly empty clean desk for just five minutes–a note pad, one pencil, room for my laptop – and soon there’ll be a litter of notes, doodles, and anything loose in the room that I can pile on. That clean, uncluttered desktop is a distraction for writer-brain…it cries out for something. And what it needs is – against all engineer-brain logic – a mess.”
Perhaps both perspectives are right. An artist or worker who wishes to be creative needs a blank slate that they are free to. . . mess up.
Regardless of how it occurs, worker sense of ownership and creativity are central to a business’ success and chance at longevity in this fast-paced world. Workers who clock in to visit an inspiring setting will find their work personally valuable, enjoyable, and worthwhile in a way that workers who feel confined, stuck, or cluttered by others, never will.
This list of the 100 top companies to work for includes creative technology giant Google and sporting equipment retailer REI. It’s no coincidence that the same companies that rated high in employee satisfaction are also popular with customers. The savvy consumer can smell good design, and enjoys the ample flow of activity in a well-designed system and pleasant, competent employees who staff them.
We would like to note that people find a vast variety of settings inspiring. For a young writer, a small closet of privacy may be perfect. For a seasoned designer, a light airy studio with assistants nearby may be the best. The key is to give some thought to where people will be working – and whether it works for them.