Next time you make yourself a Nespresso in your company’s designer steampunk kitchen, look around. Do you see retro vintage light bulbs in place of fluorescent lights? Sofas made of hessian sacks? If you’re in the creative space, chances are there’s nary a hint of filling cabinet or dull, stuffy, carpeted cubicle (seems we have something to thank hipsters for after all).

These days, creative agencies are big on cool office design – the edgier and more innovative the better. Why? Because good managers and office designers know that a vibrant and inspirational workspace has a massive impact on productivity, creative flow and quality of work.

Think about it: when do you come up with your craziest, most innovative ideas – you know, the portfolio, award-winning kind? Apart from when you’re in the shower without a pen to write it down, it’s usually when you’re lounging with your team on ottomans shaped like giant rocks or when you’re in a funky, open space that encourages playfulness and collaboration. It’s certainly not when you’re stuck in a dull boardroom with an overhead projector and bad coffee.

Innovation is at its best when employees are in an exciting, positive environment.

With increased mobility, advances in technology and an almost insatiable quest for overall wellbeing (how else do you explain chia seeds), offices, too, are evolving.

Says Barry Fries, CEO of NYC-based construction firm, B.R. Fries & Associates, “The walls are coming down. Driven by changing work styles, mobile technology, and the growing presence of Millennials… today’s workplaces are changing, mostly for the better. Perimeter offices are disappearing, floor plans are opening up, and trendy breakout areas and cafés are replacing the rigid, closed layouts of the past.” (you can check out some of the cool trends he’s talking about here).

So how do you get in on the trend?

Here’s a starter-pack of tips to get you on your way. Remember, though: before you install a pizza oven or a kitten-petting room, your office design should reflect your company culture and ethos, and also instil a sense of identity among your staff.

  • Maximise natural lighting to give a feeling of space and freedom. Plus it brings out the beauty of the furniture you’ve chosen and saves energy too.
  • Set up green spaces with lots of plants. Natural elements have proven physiological, mental and psychological benefits.
  • Incorporate homely comforts. Touches like scatter cushions on couches or luxurious rugs on the floors can make employees feel relaxed and welcome.
  • Remove walls or replace with glass to encourage communication and a feeling of freedom.
  • Create big, open kitchens – people love to congregate around food which means it becomes a great space for bouncing around ideas. Stock with healthy snacks.
  • Incorporate lively bursts of colour to boost creativity and energy levels.
  • Create unconventional and innovative, multipurpose meeting rooms. The more out-there your meeting room, the more likely you are to come up with award-winning concepts.
  • Think movability and flexibility like non-assigned seating, standing tables or other easily movable features. Stagnant settings crush inspiration, and even small changes can help keep things fresh.
  • Incorporate community and activity areas like chilled lounges, climbing walls, a table tennis table, or even a basketball court. These elements encourage employees to get to know each other while getting away from their desks.
  • Set up installations that promote healthier, greener living like bike racks and showers for employees who walk/bike/run to work or exercise during lunch (it will also encourage more staff to do the same).

Check out some of 2015’s coolest offices, or see how Google, Facebook and AirBNB are getting it right with some amazing designs.

Feeling inspired? Let us know in the comments or share this post with your network.

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