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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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                      1 How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business 2 20 Inspiring Vision Statement Examples (2019 Updated) 3 How to Quit Your Unfulfilling Job and Lead Your Dream Career 4 8 Critical Skills for Workplace Success and Career Advancement 5 How to Find Work Motivation When You’re Unfulfilled at Work

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                      Published on March 20, 2019

                      How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

                      How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

                      Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

                      As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

                      While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

                      What is a Mission Statement?

                      Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

                      In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

                      “Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

                      In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

                      Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

                      While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

                      First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

                      While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

                      While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

                      “To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

                      This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

                      What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

                      When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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                      Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

                      When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

                      • What we do?
                      • How we do it?
                      • Whom do we do it for?
                      • What value are we bringing?

                      Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

                      After all, that did check off all the boxes:

                      What we do? Provide widgets.

                      How we do it? Online.

                      Who do we do it for? The consumer.

                      What value we bring? The best widgets.

                      The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

                      Compare that mission statement to this one:

                      “We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

                      What’s the difference?

                      Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

                      Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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                      You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

                      A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

                      Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

                      1. Keep It Brief

                      Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

                      You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

                      2. Have a Purpose

                      A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

                      Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

                      3. Include a “How”

                      Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

                      How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

                      4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

                      This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

                      Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

                      5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

                      It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

                      Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

                      6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

                      Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

                      7. Think Long Term

                      A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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                      8. Get Feedback

                      This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

                      Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

                      9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

                      You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

                      First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

                      And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

                      For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

                      The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

                      It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

                      First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

                      If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

                      Strategic Planning

                      A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

                      Measuring Performance

                      By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

                      Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

                      Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

                      Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

                      As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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                      Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

                      To Hold Management Accountable

                      By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

                      So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

                      If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

                      To Serve as an Example

                      This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

                      After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

                      Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

                      Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

                      Final Thoughts

                      Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

                      Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

                      That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

                      By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

                      More Resources About Achieving Business Success

                      Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
                      [2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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