Having a fun and stylish workplace is important to us at atom42, but there’s more to having a lovely office then just being ‘media’.
Since the atoms moved from Gresse Street to Camden High Street, via a fairly major office revamp by designers ‘Space & Solutions’, I’ve become interested in what makes for an ideal working environment.
For example, should we consider the research that shows that the colour red can lead to success and cocoon ourselves in a womb-like work space, and is it important for our office buildings to boost staff morale?
How our workplaces affect us
As for the red cocoon, I’ve made a stab at testing this theory by covering two walls of my home office in a rather delicious shade of radiccio, so I’ll keep you posted on whether atom43 becomes (even more of) a factory for achievement.
As for morale, research revealed by Tom Dyckhoff in ‘The Secret Life of Buildings’ showed that where we work can physically change our brains, influencing how innovative we are, as well as having a major impact on productivity. Streamlined, minimalist spaces are a no-no, providing little to nurture the occupants’ minds.
Offices which have gone to extremes
How far should we go, then, in the pursuit of an Eden-like workplace? Here are some examples of what other offices around the world have attempted. Our resident Google guru Simon has actually been to the Google Zurich office with the slide (2nd picture) – this is what he thought:
“It’s totally ludicrous.It has a fireman’s pole which lets you slide down through three floors. There’s also a massive chillout room with big fishtanks and you can just sit there listening to ambient music – there’s also a whole room just for playing Guitar Hero. The slide goes from the first floor into the canteen, it lands just in front of the desserts bit, so you could feasibly slide down into cakes…”
The effects on productivity
The most interesting of Dyckoff’s findings for me was the realisation that some of the most exciting, glamorous and ‘fun’ offices, schools and factories were not just cost effective to build, but also increased productivity significantly throughout the companies that occupied them.
The message for businesses – media and non-media alike – build your workplaces with the people in them in mind. You’ll be repaid with higher productivity and a fiercely loyal workforce.