Innovation, creativity and imagination are powerful tools for all businesses today. The real trick for business owners is to capture these skills, but still attain productivity. A typical work environment can actually be a brain-killer. Standard office design of boxed-in space, drab walls, and strict schedules are not very conducive in harboring an inventive environment. Simple basics added to your office environment can create an encouraging and more productive environment.
A true brain-friendly environment will harbor basic enrichment to seeing, feeling and hearing.
- A friendly, threat-free office is a culture developed by example. The leadership will develop a standard that is used through all levels of management and staff. Be sure the top leaders are encouraging this productive office culture.
- Variety in seating is as simple as providing choice. Whenever possible, let employees choose the space with which they are most comfortable. Different personalities will choose vastly different locations and even work spaces. Allow for some flexibility of choice, and possibly consider offering the option of simple modifications.
- Responsible use of music and sounds. Knowing the staff and culture will be key in defining the type of music and/or sounds that are suitable. The loud hum of technology, i.e. servers running, clicking keyboards, and shrieking phone rings, can be powerfully distracting. Consider ways to minimize distracting sounds and possibly integrate music or other sounds as background noise.
- Place posters or other visual artwork to reinforce creativity. The posters and art should be specific to those who will be enjoying. Whether motivational posters, scenic art, or full-dimensional sculptures. Choose the medium that is most appropriate for the staff and customers.
- Add fresh air whenever possible, or it may me more appropriate to simply incorporate in a variety of colors, prudent aromas, and plants. Fresh air will lend a renewed atmosphere to the office staff, but simple landscape could create the same feel.
- Adequate lighting is critical for creating a calm environment, and minimizing screen glare and technology fatigue. Choose lighting carefully, and consider varying types of lights and bulbs to reach the desired effect.
- Maintain moderate humidity and temperature for maximum comfort over periods of time. The ideal office temperature is generally 68-70 degrees.
- Accessible drinking water. The brain is over 80% water and is highly sensitive to pH variance. Fruit juice, soft drinks, coffee and tea are diuretics which can actually reduce the amount of water reaching the brain. Increased water consumption reduces stress and increases focus. Make fresh water readily available, and educate the staff on the importance of drinking a minimum of half a gallon per day.
Establishing a brain-friendly work environment can be simple up to more complicated. The degree of enrichment can be customized to your business and the work environment you deem most productive.