Well-Designed Offices Boost Creativity & Productivity

by Knotel: Apr 30, 2018

Well-designed office space has a tremendous influence on the way employees work.

According to the Harvard Business Review, the physical design of your offices can help create strong emotional bonds between your employees and the products and services you build. “We’ve found that when people care about and believe in the brand, they’re motivated to work harder and their loyalty to the company increases,” Colin Mitchell writes. “Employees are unified and inspired by a common sense of purpose and identity.”

On the flipside, when an office is poorly designed or workers are jammed into any old space, there may be a disconnect between what your brand is trying to accomplish and your employees’ perception of that mission. In the worst case scenario, an uninviting space may cause your employees to become disengaged—or even hostile.

Poor office design is perhaps one of the reasons that Gallup reports a staggering 85% of employees across the globe aren’t engaged at work. Altogether, disengaged employees cost businesses $7 trillion in lost productivity.

Well-designed offices, on the other hand, have been proven to increase productivity and unlock creativity.

One study, for example, found that the presence of plants in the office environment translates into a 15% increase in productivity. Natural light has a similar effect.

There’s also research that suggests painting office walls certain colors can help workers become happier and more creative. A recent study found that participants who were briefly shown a green rectangle were roughly 20% more creative when asked to imagine ways to use a tin can compared to those who were shown a white rectangle. While researchers couldn’t quite pinpoint why that was the case, they suggested it may have to do with cultures associating the color green with growth.

What’s more, another study uncovered a link between noise creativity. It turns out that we may be more creative when we’re listening to moderate noises (e.g., 70 decibels, the sound of a vacuum 10 feet away from you) than when things are more quiet. Of course, when it gets too loud, these gains are lost.

How about some real-world examples of how well-designed offices can translate into desirable business outcomes?

Let’s start with McCann, a leading global marketing and advertising agency, which built a new five-floor, 130,000-square foot headquarters in New York City in 2013.

The well-lit office, which features an open layout and an endless amount of inviting seating areas and collaboration spaces, enabled McCann to attract top talent—and convince them to stick around. The decision to build a unique space that encourages creativity and collaboration paid off: Last year, AdAge gave McCann the second spot on its 2017 Agency A-List.

Now, let’s turn our attention to a company that has seemingly endless resources.

In January 2018, Amazon officially opened The Spheres, a 65,000-square foot rainforest-like workspace that displays more than 40,000 plants from 30 different countries.

Amazon execs are no doubt familiar with the wealth of studies that demonstrate the link between creativity and being outdoors. The tech juggernaut hopes that these new offices will help them attract and retain top talent, while encouraging collaboration, enhancing creativity, and increasing productivity. There aren’t any closed offices or even desks in The Spheres; there are, however, many well-lit sitting areas surrounded by plantlife.

If you want to build and grow a successful business, you need dedicated office space that highlights your values, strengthens your culture, and bolsters your brand—it’s that simple. The perfect office doubles as a recruiting and retention tool, too.

Don’t work out of a space designed for any old company. Work in an office built specifically for you.