Companies have come to appreciate the value of an office culture that’s willing to be playful and inspiring. Gone are drab cubicles and in is quirky, adventurous, playful design which doesn’t need to cost you more.
By encouraging employees to have more fun and occasionally relax at work, companies hope to boost creativity and productivity. Making the office a fun place to work is also proven to enhance branding and improve employee retention.
Of course, not every office needs to come across as fun and playful. It works better for some industries than others. But the increasing number of companies that are choosing not to take themselves quite so seriously are also enjoying some serious benefits.
The Benefits of Playful Design at Work
Google London’s playful design of a meeting and break-out area.
1. Increased Productivity
Quality breaks are essential for employees to operate at their peak potential and play may be particularly effective. Studies state that playful design can “relieve stress, boost creativity, improve brain function, and improve our relationships with other people by fostering stronger relationships with others.”
2. Enhanced Branding
When your brand clearly reflects your company’s values, you will attract the best clients and staff for your business. If part of your company’s identity involves valuing staff and being forward thinking, your office should reflect those qualities.
3. Better Employee Health
An increasing number of studies link sitting for long periods of time to health problems. The best employers have been doing their part to get their staff moving throughout the work day. Mental health can also be improved by encouraging social interaction with colleagues.
4. More Collaboration
When a space entices staff to make the most of it great things can happen. When two employees stop for a quick game of ping-pong, others gather and, soon, there’s an impromptu meeting. When team members hang around for a beer after work they brainstorm about clients and so the communication increases …
How to Create Playful Design
Want to get a little more playful in your office space? Here are a few features to consider:
1. Your Brand
First and foremost, your space should reflect your brand and what you stand for. It should tell your story! Should your space be simple and elegant, fresh and eye-catching or warm, inspiring and eclectic?. Let your brand determine your interior.
Evernote reflect their brand with a chalkboard showing their slogan ‘remember everything’. Artworks on the wall are also created from their sticky notes. Furnishings are home-like in nature and inviting.
This meeting room at Etsy Headquarters cleverly reflects the folk traditions of their brand with large woven tapestries, eclectic furnishings and a tree trunk rug.
2. The Great Outdoors
Incorporate nature wherever possible whether in the form of a view or bringing greenery inside.
Microsoft’s Vienna Headquarters feature plant wall in reception is fresh and eye catching.
TBWA Hakuhodo Ad Agency, Tokyo wanted to communicate “we think differently”. They created a beautiful, playful and relaxing office environment with a tree and grass-lined area with warm hardwood floors, indirect lighting and an open space that promotes casual living and community.
3. Feels Like Home
A home-like space puts you at ease and creates a happy, relaxed and comfortable work environment that is welcoming to staff and clients. Often these spaces utilise recycled materials – timber from a barn, old street signs, a salvaged pizza oven. The mix of raw materials with attention to detail and modern technology can give real wow factor.
This board room in the head office for We Work, Boston does ‘feels like home’ to a tee. The residential furnishings contrast beautifully with the hi tech glass and chrome.
4. Themed areas
Theming can be a smart and creative way to distinguish different areas within an office and to feature your business story. It allows each department within a company to have an identity and creates a lively work environment with a story woven throughout.
Microsoft have themed very successfully in their Vienna Headquarters. Different rooms reflect different natural environments. The hunting lodge above brings warmth to the workplace. The quirky themes rejuvenate the spaces and keep employees upbeat.
5. Play Time
They have been around for a while but the message a slide sends is hard to miss. Besides making a statement that your company values play (and has invested in it), these fixtures look amazing and encourage employees to skip the elevator. Whether it be a climbing wall, a slide, swings, ping pong, games or a social bar, play time can be an amazing way to incorporate dynamic activities into a space and make a big statement. These toys or gimmicks help employees learn new things, solve problems and keep us thinking …
Microsoft’s Vienna Headquarters showcases its iconic slide.
Zalando’s Headoffice in Finnland boasts a super relaxed break-out space with a warm, home-like vibe.
Many companies are incorporating health and fitness into the work environment. Things like ergonomically adjustable desks, yoga studios and juice bars in offices are becoming common. Access to outdoor workspace also adds a positive vibe and great energy to an office space.
Dropbox has created a stunning relaxation space in their music room.
Many studies have shown that human behaviour is heavily influenced by environment. Do you want an office culture that’s playful and forward thinking? Adentro can help you create the playful design you are after!