It’s no secret that a pleasant work environment brings out the best in people. Veerle Pieters, a graphic and web designer takes a closer look at inspirational workplaces—she’s certainly gathered some fun, creative examples in her post and she offers her thoughts on how an environment can influence the worker’s state of mind. Veerle also set up an inspiring workplaces photo-sharing pool on flickr so that people could add photos of other creative workspaces. If you work in a great environment or know of one, jump in the pool!
We’ve posted about creative work environments before. In March, we posted about life in the Googleplex and last November, we posted about 10 seeeeeriously cool places to work, courtesy of The Chief Happiness Officer who frequently discusses the benefits of fun and creative work environments. In a newer post he offers another pictorial essay on the work space and creativity. There are some very imaginative furnishings in his post, ranging from art tables to “bibliochairs.” Don’t miss the conference bike—come to agreement and stay healthy at the same time.
Many of the workplaces cited in these posts are from offices, ad agencies and tech firms—we’d love to see some pictorial examples from manufacturing, retail, health care and industrial concerns, too. One of the most creative work environments we’ve encountered is a precision plastics manufacturer headquartered in an historic New England building with state of the art facilities. Not only is it a colorful, clean, and energizing place to work, but the attention to environment has paid off in an outstanding safety record, high productivity and great morale.
An article in Business 2.0 discusses ways that office redesign can boost the bottom line. They cite a survey in which 90% of the workers polled said they would work an extra hour a day if they had a better work environment. Less than 40% said they would be proud to show important customers their workspace. The article makes this excellent point:

Consider this insight, which came from the General Services Administration decades ago: Of the total cost to a company for running an office building over a 30-year life span, the initial construction represents just 2 percent; operating expenses come to about 6 percent.

The remainder? It all goes to paying the workers inside. The point should be obvious: People are the biggest cost inside a work environment, so leveraging your human capital ought to be near the top of your priority list.

Even when budgets and space are limited, imagination and effort can be focused on shared spaces, break rooms and other common areas. Showing employees that you care about them is a good way to get employees to care back about you. And we’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: even the most exciting environments are only skin deep. A really fun work space is great. A really good manager who supports, motivates, and inspires staff is even better! And when the two are paired? Well that’s pretty much the definition of a world-class workplace!

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