How to Create a Productive Brainstorming Area in the Office
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- Design Tips
Some offices today are taking creative cues from childhood. Forbes.com highlights innovative tech companies that have added carefree elements to the workspace.
- At Google, employees can take a slide to get to the floor below.
- At Skype, slate-colored “rock” cushions are scattered among low orange chairs with a beachy feel.
- At Box, seating includes large swings.
- At Facebook, employees can enjoy their breaks in the video game room.
- At Infosys, the break area includes a bowling alley.
One can only imagine the potential for out-of-the-box ideas flowing from an environment where workers have been sprung from their cubicles.
Still, not every corporate culture is so free-spirited. And several Inc. articles even raise questions about the efficiency of brainstorming.
Brainstorming is the sharing of ideas without judgment – often to solve a particular problem or achieve a certain goal. According to Techspace.com, a starting point is to carve out a space dedicated to free thinking – which can also double as an extra meeting room.
Here are the key elements of a productive brainstorming area:
- The space must have a whiteboard to record ideas for others to see.
- YouEarnedit.com takes that feature a step further, reminding managers to reinforce with their team that they are paid to think. Include a “What if” section on the whiteboard to capture random thoughts.
- Employees need a place to sit, which will be as individual as the business. Sometimes traditional seating around a standard conference table is more effective, while Turnstone points out that lounge seating can make people feel more relaxed. But it also suggests standing-height counters with stools to keep employees engaged with opportunities to switch postures.
- Choose a wall color that reflects the company. Bright yellow, for example, can be energizing, but a toned-down buttery hue would be less jarring.
- Distractions – from noise to clutter – should be kept to a minimum.
Supply before the demand
Along with the all-important whiteboard – and mobile is optimal – Turnstone reminds employers of a few other musts to maximize brainstorming.
- Don’t forget the Post-it notes and plenty of markers.
- Surfaces such as foam core or cork boards allow users with diagrams and thumbtacks in hand to actively engage and rearrange information.
- Include monitors with plug-and-play capabilities. This makes it easy for people to share digital content or collaborate with remote teammates through video conferencing.
Remember - food is fuel
Regardless of the size of the office, Techspace.com reminds of the importance of food. Hunger can be detrimental to productivity, so micro-kitchens stocked with healthy and energizing snacks makes it easy for a worker to grab a bite without leaving the office.
Lunch outings or gatherings can also help create an informal, collaborative workspace in which employees can speak more freely. Conversations over lunch tend to be more carefree and without as much pressure to say the “right” thing.
With so much to take into consideration, why not pick the brains of the professionals at Beaux-Arts Group instead to create the right space for your company.