Imagine cruising down a slide to visit your boss, playing a game of table tennis while mulling over your latest project or going off to the office lounge for an afternoon nap. This may all not be so outlandish if you happen to work for Google.
The company's spaces are famous for their quirky invention and unusual office designs. But the concept of the office as a sort of playground is not just a publicity stunt for the company. With the automation of many mundane tasks, we have entered a working world where creative and innovative work is increasingly valued. The psychology of our workspaces has a huge influence on the way we interact both with our work and each other. As a cutting edge, technology giant, Google can't afford not to listen and act on the latest research in office design.
So how can you design an office of the future? Well, here are 6 interior design tips to work (like) in Google. Enjoy!
Clive Wilkinson, the architect behind Google's Silicon Valley office design says that office cubicles are humiliating and isolating. The layout is reminiscent of factory work where the hierarchy was strong and the workers had little say on working conditions. He even says it's like chicken farming! As an alternative, look at how a variety of working setups such as individual desks and larger communal desks like this. But sometimes we just need the barriers of walls to confidential meetings and such, so… .
Install a few meeting rooms, but make the walls transparent so you have a series of glass rooms. If you want a smidgen more privacy, make the glass tinted like this. Everyone is a little glass crazy at the moment in their design, but this is no mere visual trend. The office of the future is a place where cross-fertilisation of ideas is encouraged. To create this sort of working environment, it's important to remove as many psychological barriers as possible.
We all know how debilitating that mid-afternoon period can be when you're staring mindlessly at a computer screen, enduring a tedious meeting or craving a sugary snack. But the truth is that you probably need a nap. Power naps have been proven to boost productivity, concentration and lower stress. But it's a little hard to really feel comfortable doing so at work. So think of installing some comfy furniture. These high-backed red sofas would really allow the person to switch off from the office environment and indulge in a little nap time.
Now the term hipster may be a little annoying if you're of a certain age, but the type of cafeteria we're promoting might just be up your alley. It's all about keeping your cafe interior simple and low cost, so you can invest in the really important things like cheaper food and a great coffee maker. The surfaces should be raw, natural and the food preparation areas open for all to see and even taste. Look at this simple cafeteria by Biasol Design for inspiration.
In google's offices, they even provide free food. This may seem like a huge expense, but good food has a huge effect on your workers' productivity. Google encourages their staff to be healthy by displaying healthy snacks at the front of the counter, while hiding away sugary snacks in opaque containers at the rear.
When your eyes are aching, your body stiff from hours at your desk and your mind is racing with things to do, it's obviously time to take a break. Perhaps you could even head to the games room!
When you are exhausted by engaging in mentally demanding work over a long period, doing something physical like a game of table tennis or playing a game of basketball is a really good way to shift your state of mind. Who knows, after a while, you may even end up with a workspace looking like this… is it a desk or a board for table tennis?
The beige offices of the past are finally over. There is a growing bank of research showing that bold, primary colours have a powerful effect on employees motivation and productivity. While greens and yellows are known for being soothing, they are more suited to home interiors. Bold reds are said to make people feel more motivated, and greys and whites are said to be the least stimulating of all. But some may find red a little too agitating on a daily basis. There is no one single answer except that it's great to ditch the white, try out a few vibrant colours and get feedback from your employees.
If you are thinking of redesigning your office, you would love this Ideabook Using colour: the different effect of tones and hues.