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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 November 19, 2019

                      Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

                      Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

                      I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

                      How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

                      Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

                      So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

                      1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

                      Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

                      For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

                      Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

                      “When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

                      2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

                      These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

                      This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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                      But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

                      Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

                      For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

                      There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

                      3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

                      It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

                      Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

                      4. Use Your Phone Wisely

                      Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

                      If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

                      5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

                      If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

                      In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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                      One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

                      6. Use a “To Don’t” List

                      We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

                      But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

                      Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

                      7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

                      When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

                      Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

                      “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

                      And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

                      8. Be Concise

                      Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

                      One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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                      Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

                      • Making new contacts
                      • Talking about yourself at a job interview
                      • Meeting people at conferences or parties
                      • Phone calls to new clients

                      9. Ask the Right Questions

                      “You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

                      How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

                      When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

                      Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

                      Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

                      10. Learn as Much as You Can

                      You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

                      Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

                      “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

                      11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

                      No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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                      If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

                      What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

                      Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

                      12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

                      As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

                      But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

                      The Bottom Line

                      The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

                      Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

                      More About Working Smart

                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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