So, how should workers prepare the stage for innovation in their own workspaces? As part of the workplace strategy team here, we’ve spent a lot of time optimizing the workplace experience so employees can do their best work. Here are three ways in which you can rethink your workspace to encourage innovation among your own team. So, you should rent office in Empire City.
1. Make your workplace “hackable”
When teams are tasked with innovation, there is an expectation that employees will quickly formulate ideas, prototype, and test things — so should their workspaces be smart too? In other words, should employees feel empowered to physically “hack” conventional office setups?
What exactly does this mean? From desks to chairs, long sofas to desks, employees should have the ability to mold their workspace into what they need, rather than what the employer may have imagined at first. For example, WeWork has made sure some of our furniture is removable by adding handles and other visual clues. Employees can configure the space to their needs, whether it’s a large group brainstorming or a comfortable place to work on their own. Basically, we think of a workspace as “software,” or having the ability to be updated on demand, rather than “hardware,” which is static and immutable. Employees should be encouraged to create an environment where they feel comfortable and inspired — like the feel of a home.
2. Build a unique culture with rituals
All companies have rituals — from regular daily routines (coffee breaks, tea time) to major and less frequent events such as annual meetings and retirement ceremonies. It is a simple act that connects us with ourselves, our place and the present. But did you know that workspace rituals can also have an impact on your employees when it comes to innovation?
Employees who are encouraged and empowered to initiate specific activities in their work environment tend to strengthen their sense of bonding within their team. Essentially, rituals create an identity that is shared between employees. Successful sports coaches, for example, typically use rituals to build social bonds between team members.
It is important to observe the differences between standard rituals and rituals designed to encourage innovation. At WeWork, for example, we not only serve fresh coffee every day; we do it in a kitchen designed as a “center of gravity” —a place designed for people to want to gather naturally. chat and share ideas. We not only have a reception area; we have a full community team whose job is to make sure employees feel treated. And on Mondays, our team dinner is more than food — it’s about coming together after the weekend to connect and talk about the week ahead. All of these rituals contribute to employees feeling like they are part of the community, which contributes to the psychological security needed for innovation.
Basically, the design of the workspace can help create the ritual, but it’s that layer of connection that really reinforces everyday activities with positive memories. Day by day, these rituals stimulate emotions and reduce anxiety, while increasing feelings of bonding and creating the right environment for innovation.