Can Workplace Design Influence Creativity?

Creating a space that is reflective of your company's vision instantly shares who you are and goes a long way to foster creativity.

The inimitable Edith Head* once said, “You can have anything you want. If you dress for it.” We like to think the same holds true for your workspace. It’s sort of a “build it, and they will come” mentality.

Even if you aren’t massively into decorating, odds are you have spent some time thinking and debating (agonizing?) over how to adorn your home. Why? So you are comfortable there, so it reflects who you are. (And so the neighbors don’t mock you behind your back.)

Why wouldn’t you do the same at work, where you spend such a large portion of your day? At Ethos, we take all that to heart, as well as the idea that our workspace should be an extension of our creativity and hopefully inspire it as well. Let us give you a little tour:

Make it personal

Not to date ourselves, but the 80’s film 9 to 5 starts with a hardline boss not allowing employees to keep personal objects at their desks in a giant open space filled with busy worker bees—no photos, no plants, no coffee mugs. When we designed our office space, we went in the totally opposite direction. In fact, we encouraged staff to bring in photos and personal mementos to incorporate into the wall décor in their space.

Create multiple spaces

We’ve probably mentioned this before, but while each person at Ethos does have their own office space, we typically prefer piling into one room and working collaboratively. It simply works best for us. But every office, and every employee, is different. So do a little anthropological detective work. Pay attention to how your staff congregates and separates. Provide space for collaboration and for quiet, solo work. Both can be beneficial.

Give everyone a choice

Above all, give your staff options. Maybe some people prefer a desk free of personal items. Maybe some don’t even like a desk but prefer a laptop and a sofa. When people know what works for them and are given the freedom to work in their best environment, you may be astounded at what heights of creativity (and productivity) they can reach.

Take your time

Last, but not least, don’t rush it. Sure, your desire is to instantly create a workspace for you and your entire workforce that allows them to be their best, to be comfortable and to express your company’s vision, but these things take time. Allow yourself to proceed with baby steps, accept that you will make some design mistakes and know, that with time, you will figure it all out as you grow.

(*And if you don’t know about the exceptional Ms. Head we’ll forgive you—this once—but we suggest studying up here and here.)