Lots of natural light.
I’m not sure what it’s like where you live, but in Omaha, it can get gray for MONTHS on end. That affects people, especially me. So I like to have offices with lots of windows, tons of overhead light and lamps. Mirrors also help. For whatever reason, I feel that having a well-lit, sunny environment for work makes the day more productive.
Space for privacy.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want some great space chopped up into little windowless rooms for the sake of privacy but having a few areas where privacy is possible is wonderful. Our current office doesn’t really have a place for people to take private calls or relax during lunch and we’re looking for that in our next office. Things like performance reviews, brainstorming or just having meetings that don’t include the whole team are necessary in every work environment.
I think that great offices have standing desks, sitting desks, couches for loungingand even spaces where your body can move around or pace (which I do on every phone call). Some people like exercise balls, others prefer bean bags or treadmill desks. Having different types of working spaces for different activities helps me get in the mood for whatever I am doing that day (writing, strategy session, conference calls, video editing…whatever).
Since I’ve been looking, I decided to tidy up our current office and the one thing I can never bring myself to toss is inspirational guidance. Whether it’s a great brochure we got a conference or a template we downloaded from an online mentoring site, I love having “ideas” floating around. I decided to file these in easy to find locations and hang up those that can be viewed at a glance!
I can hear the sounds of employee laughter echoing through the interwebs. My desk(s) are usually so covered with paper, seaweed chip dust and used coffee cups that no one can set down their computer to show me their latest work. But organization and cleanliness does help start the week off right. We’ve been working on getting the office transitioned fully to Evernote (I’m working on it too) to at least deal with the paper issue. No word on what I’m going to do about my seaweed chip addiction.
While people have claimed their workspaces for the most part, we do have built-in flexibility in our current office (and will in future iterations). When we have an active web development projects, three people create a command central in the front office and abandon normal seating arrangements and the office adapts. Or recently when we began implementing a new marketing automation system, we rearranged seating so that the two people working most closely on that project could be closer for more back and forth, iterative learning.
I used to own an interior decorating firm and I loved it. I spend a lot of time painting and decorating my own home so it is essential for me to have a beautiful office. I also think that it’s essential for people who don’t give a flying fig about decoration to have attractive offices too. Clean surfaces, interesting eye-catching prints, a nice view, lovely kitchen setup. All these things do matter to the way one goes about one’s day.
What are your office must-haves? If you were searching for a new workspace, what would you include?