Author David Ciccarelli is the co-founder and CEO of Voices.com, the online marketplace that connects business people with professional voice over talent. The unique blending of his audio engineering background with business savvy and product development afforded David the creative freedom to pursue his passion for innovation.
When redesigning an office space to accommodate a dramatic increase in growth, form and function should play a significant role in your decision making process. The layout, aside from being graceful and intuitive, needs to facilitate an element of fun while boosting workplace productivity.
At my company, Voices.com, we knew that if our space made people feel good, they would be more inspired to give their all to the work at hand. More than anything, employers want to make their space livable and inviting. When you walk in through the glass doors in our front lobby, you're greeted by a semi-circular reception desk that serves as a point of welcoming for guests but also as a recognizable meeting spot for busy employees.
- Create an open area for office communication. An open floor space in any office can be reimagined for a public gathering. Voices.com's daily meeting, known as The Daily Huddle, serves as our company's information blitz. We schedule it to occur in a large, empty corner of the workspace. In this space we needed to provide enough room for more than 80 people to congregate and have a clear view of a giant clear board for metrics reporting and a wall-mounted television for presentations, digital photos and announcements. Other ideas: You can hang posters outlining prominent strategic initiatives. Retire and replace them as your teams achieve their goals. But make sure your mission, vision and values are showcased as a constant reminder of why you are there, where you're going and what your company values.
- Appreciate form and function. Think about how your team's desks will be arranged. Workstations in the shape of honeycombs can be spread out around the floor. We selected the Resolve line of workstations by Herman Miller because of their simplicity, efficient use of space and the flexibility of their modular structure.
- Make work feel like home. Consider what many believe to be the heart of the "home": your office kitchen. Post photos from team-building events, meetings and company festivities on the fridge. Storytelling is a huge part of office design. Intentionally highlight your achievements, memories and the things that matter most to your organization.
- Use artifacts as a bridge. As a web company that works primarily with digital media, there aren't many aspects of what we do that are tangible. On top of that, we rarely see our customers and most client communication happens over the phone or email. We try to overcome this challenge by making the intangible tangible. To illustrate goals and achievements to team members, use client banners. For example, we have a number of banners hanging from our ceiling representing our most dedicated customers. If you have ever been to a hockey arena, you've seen this sort of thing before. Every time someone glances up or walks by the banners, they will be reminded of the kind of companies you serve and will be motivated to strive for greater things.
- Strive for simplicity. Consider making your technology invisible. Though your environment may be modern, you can implement this organic philosophy with cabling tucked away in troughs and display screens mounted on walls. Show your technology off more like works of art than high-tech means of transmitting information. Know that while your furniture and surroundings may be aesthetically pleasing, the intention behind each piece is what truly brings beauty to its design.
- Make your workspace reflect your culture. Mold your physical work environment around the same criteria you use for shaping your culture. Think about how people behave and how the layout of your office can serve as a channel for encouraging and facilitating productivity. As a result, your space, though comfortable like a family home, will still encourage your team to get down to business.