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10 Ways to Make Your Office Fun To Work In

10 Ways to Make Your Office Fun To Work In

Who said the office can’t be fun?

In a Silicon Valley loft sometime not quite 20 years ago, someone asked a question very much like this and decided they weren’t going to be yet another drudgery-inducing white-washed office complex.

As the start-up doctrine kicked into full gear in the late 1990s and early 2000s, with fast growing game-changers like Google and Pixar, soon to be followed by the likes of Zappos, Facebook, ThinkGarden and others, the very idea of what an office could and should be changed.

Donuts and stale coffee became four star chefs with a full service kitchen.

Empty lobbies with security guards and plastic plants were soon populated with giant red slides and video arcade cabinets.

Sure, it was a great way to lure in top-tier talent in an industry whose leaders are always desperate for the very best. But it was also an important motivator.

Mindless distractions, good meals and toys for all ages, it turned out, were incredibly effective at bringing out higher levels of productivity in workers who previously felt worn out and downtrodden.

Where coffee and sheer willpower got a wary programmer through the day before, executives started showering employees in parties, in-office perks, and more.

Bringing the Most Out of Your Employees

Whether you’re launching a start-up with five people, or running a multi-national corporation and want to boost morale AND productivity, there are some creative, effective, and downright fun ways to do it.

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Here are 10 game-changing office upgrades brought to you by some of the world’s best companies to work for.

1. Open It to the Great Outdoors

SelgasCanoOffice

    There’s something innately calming about the outdoors. Of course, actually sitting in the park with your laptop is icky, with bugs invading your space and squirrels begging for the leftovers of your bagel.

    So if you can’t go outdoors, take your office with you. Selgas Cano, an architecture firm, did just that, building a bunker for their central work space. Every day, these lucky architects get to relax with the beauty of nature all around them–which is a nice break from drafting software and board meetings, to be sure.

    2. Make it Feel Like Home

    RedbullOffices

      I could show you a picture of quite literally any of the offices on this list and it’d fit the bill, but there has been a huge movement toward the “home away from home” style of office design.

      Here’s the thing: employees need a work space that is separate from home to maintain that all important work/life balance, but that doesn’t mean work can’t be cozy and homelike. Just check out Redbull Cape Town’s office above. It has a shag carpet, a bar, couches and plenty of open lighting. It’s a cocoon of creativity.

      3. Embrace Downtime

      Legos in Google Office

        This picture did the rounds for a while. It was taken by someone at one of Google’s offices, where slides, Legos, beanbags, and video games are the norm. Sure, it’s a web services and software company, and sure, there are weeks when employees won’t see their children, but Google’s campuses are legendary for making all those extra hours as bearable as possible.

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        If you can’t afford a slide in the cafeteria, keep it simple. Put a video game console in the break room or an old pinball machine in the lobby. Schedule theme days. Have fun with it!

        4. Hire a Cutting Edge Architect

        CorusQuay

          Architecture is on full display in many of the world’s biggest and most impressive new offices. From Mountain View to New York to Denmark, there are some incredible offices out there. This one, from Corus Quay, is loaded with unique characteristics.

          Squeezing a three-story slide into your lobby may be unlikely, but even a few quirky adjustments to the seating arrangement, furniture and lighting can make the work-space feel cool and unique in a way that excites employees to come in each day.

          5. Open the Seating Plan

          CitizenSpace_Coworking

            Let’s strip things down a bit and talk about “coworking.”

            While the world’s biggest tech and marketing firms are showing off all the cool things they do for their employees, there are start-ups and small businesses finding their own way to bust out of the mold.

            Coworking brings an open seating plan and office structure that encourages cross-pollination of ideas, employees, and events in larger buildings. Instead of the same 5 employees seeing each other every day, coworking spaces allow them to mingle with 10 other 5-employee companies, often with shared resources like gyms, cafeterias, and conference rooms that none of those companies could afford alone.

            6. Give Them Play Rooms

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            Lego

              And the “I hope so” award goes to Lego Denmark, where playrooms are a normal part of the day for marketers, engineers and salespeople alike.

              You don’t have to sell children’s toys to have a fun, relaxing place to go and relax midday though–turn an unused office or conference room into a playroom where employees can relax for a few minutes when the daily grind gets to be too much.

              7. More Oxygen!

              Zappos

                Special event or not, Zappos has put together a heck of an office environment. Trees, plants, and all things green not only bring some much needed vibrancy to normally bland, dull cubicles, but they bridge that gap between indoor and outdoor that is often nearly impossible for a professional desk jockey.

                8. Foster Creativity

                Pixar

                  This should come as no surprise. Pixar’s offices are a temple to creative thinking and freedom of expression.

                  This is just look at some of the dozens of cool things Pixar’s animators, designers, and writers experience every day at work. From homey offices to lounge lighting, and themed offices from their movies, there’s nothing “normal” about working for Pixar.

                  Part of this is about giving freedom to employees to customize their work environment to suit their needs, but another part is enabling them to do so. Offer resources, incentives, and encouragement to be creative in new and exciting ways.

                  9. Mix Things Up

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                  AnthonyOffice

                    This is my office. It’s cozy, it’s small and it’s in my attic. It’s also one of my favorite places to work.

                    While not everyone has the freedom to work at home, everyone should be given the opportunity, at least on occasion. The relaxation and freedom it offers is perfect for some people.

                    10. Party!

                    FB Office

                      Finally, learn when to unwind and have a good time!

                      Parties, after work hours, and easy opportunities to relax and unwind are important when fostering a creative, inclusive environment. Facebook is one of the best when it comes to this, with fully stocked bars in the building, parties on a weekly basis and more.

                      The bottom line when it comes to an office is that it should make everyone feel comfortable. Part of this is your company’s culture and making sure the people you hire fit that culture. Another part, though, is listening to those people to hear what they want and need out of their work space.

                      Do that like these eight companies have done and your office will become one of the best around to work in.

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                      Last Updated on October 13, 2020

                      How to Get Promoted When You Feel Stuck in Your Current Position

                      How to Get Promoted When You Feel Stuck in Your Current Position

                      Have you been stuck in the same position for too long and don’t really know how to get promoted and advance your career?

                      Feeling stuck could be caused by a variety of things:

                      • Taking a job for the money
                      • Staying with an employer that no longer aligns with your values
                      • Realizing that you landed yourself in the wrong career
                      • Not feeling valued or feeling underutilized
                      • Taking a position without a full understanding of the role

                      There are many other reasons why you may be feeling this way, but let’s focus instead on learning what to do now in order to get unstuck and get promoted

                      One of the best ways to get promoted is by showing how you add value to your organization. Did you make money, save money, improve a process, or do some other amazing thing? How else might you demonstrate added value?

                      Let’s dive right in to how to get promoted when you feel stuck in your current position.

                      1. Be a Mentor

                      When I supervised students, I used to warm them — tongue in cheek, of course — about getting really good at their job.

                      “Be careful not to get too good at this, or you’ll never get to do anything else.”

                      This was my way of pestering them to take on additional challenges or think outside the box, but there is definitely some truth in doing something so well that your manager doesn’t trust anyone else to do it.

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                      This can get you stuck.

                      Jo Miller of Be Leaderly shares this insight on when your boss thinks you’re too valuable in your current job:

                      “Think back to a time when you really enjoyed your current role…You became known for doing your job so well that you built up some strong ‘personal brand’ equity, and people know you as the go-to-person for this particular job. That’s what we call ‘a good problem to have’: you did a really good job of building a positive perception about your suitability for the role, but you may have done ‘too’ good of a job!”[1]

                      With this in mind, how do you prove to your employer that you can add value by being promoted?

                      From Miller’s insight, she talks about building your personal brand and becoming known for doing a particular job well. So how can you link that work with a position or project that will earn you a promotion?

                      Consider leveraging your strengths and skills.

                      Let’s say that the project you do so well is hiring and training new entry-level employees. You have to post the job listing, read and review resumes, schedule interviews, make hiring decisions, and create the training schedules. These tasks require skills such as employee relations, onboarding, human resources software, performance management, teamwork, collaboration, customer service, and project management. That’s a serious amount of skills!

                      Are there any team members who can perform these skills? Try delegating and training some of your staff or colleagues to learn your job. There are a number of reasons why this is a good idea:

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                      1. Cross-training helps in any situation in the event that there’s an extended illness and the main performer of a certain task is out for a while.
                      2. As a mentor to a supervisee or colleague, you empower them to increase their job skills.
                      3. You are already beginning to demonstrate that added value to your employer by encouraging your team or peers to learn your job and creating team players.

                      Now that you’ve trained others to do that work for which you have been so valued, you can see about re-requesting that promotion. Explain how you have saved the company money, encouraged employees to increase their skills, or reinvented that project of yours.

                      2. Work on Your Mindset

                      Another reason you may feel stuck in a position is explained through this quote:

                      “If you feel stuck at a job you used to love, it’s normally you—not the job—who needs to change. The position you got hired for is probably the exact same one you have now. But if you start to dread the work routine, you’re going to focus on the negatives.”[2]

                      In this situation, you should pursue a conversation with your supervisor and share your thoughts and feelings to help you learn how to get promoted. You can probably get some advice on how to rediscover the aspects of that job you enjoyed, and negotiate either some additional duties or a chance to move up.

                      Don’t express frustration. Express a desire for more.

                      Present your case and show your boss or supervisor that you want to be challenged, and you want to move up. You want more responsibility in order to continue moving the company forward. Focus on how you can do that with the skills you have and the positive mindset you’ve cultivated.

                      3. Improve Your Soft Skills

                      When was the last time you put focus and effort into upping your game with those soft skills? I’m talking about those seemingly intangible things that make you the experienced professional in your specific job skills[3].

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                      Use soft skills when learning how to get promoted.

                        According to research, improving soft skills can boost productivity and retention 12 percent and deliver a 250 percent return on investment based on higher productivity and retention[4]. Those are only some of the benefits for both you and your employer when you want to learn how to get promoted.

                        You can hone these skills and increase your chances of promotion into a leadership role by taking courses or seminars.

                        Furthermore, you don’t necessarily need to request funding from your supervisor. There are dozens of online courses being presented by entrepreneurs and authors about these very subjects. Udemy and Creative Live both feature online courses at very reasonable prices. And some come with completion certificates for your portfolio!

                        Another way to improve your soft skills is by connecting with an employee at your organization who has a position similar to the one you want.

                        Express your desire to move up in the organization, and ask to shadow that person or see if you can sit in on some of their meetings. Offer to take that individual out for coffee and ask what their secret is! Take copious notes, and then immerse yourself in the learning.

                        The key here is not to copy your new mentor. Rather, you want to observe, learn, and then adapt according to your strengths.

                        4. Develop Your Strategy

                        Do you even know specifically why you want to learn how to get promoted? Do you see a future at this company? Do you have a one-year, five-year, or ten-year plan for your career path? How often do you consider your “why” and insure that it aligns with your “what”?

                        Sit down and make an old-fashioned pro and con list.

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                        Write down every positive aspect of your current job and then every negative one. Which list is longer? Are there any themes present?

                        Look at your lists and choose the most exciting pros and the most frustrating cons. Do those two pros make the cons worth it? If you can’t answer that question with a “yes,” then getting promoted at your current organization may not be what you really want[5].

                        The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. —Mark Twain

                        Here are some questions to ask yourself:

                        • Why do you do what you do?
                        • What thrills you about your current job role or career?
                        • What does a great day look like?
                        • What does success look and feel like beyond the paycheck?
                        • How do you want to feel about your impact on the world when you retire?

                        Define success to get promoted

                          These questions would be great to reflect on in a journal or with your supervisor in your next one-on-one meeting. Or, bring it up with one of your work friends over coffee.

                          Final Thoughts

                          After considering all of these points and doing your best to learn how to get promoted, what you might find is that being stuck is your choice. Then, you can set yourself on the path of moving up where you are, or moving on to something different.

                          Because sometimes the real promotion is finding your life’s purpose.

                          More Tips on How to Get Promoted

                          Featured photo credit: Razvan Chisu via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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