Phil Libin, the founder of Evernote and currently the CEO of AI startup studio All Turtles is once noted to have said that the one good and legitimate reason to start a company is to “change the world”. However, intentions alone are not enough and for your business to really succeed in this objective, it is important to hire and nurture employees who believe in the same foundational values.
So how exactly do you build a workspace that inspires your employees to do greater things? Here is a short note on how to go about this.
Be the change
Employees look up to their bosses and if you have to create an inspirational workspace, it is important that you set the tone to achieve this. For one, create a work culture that encourages you, and others, to contribute towards your cause.
In its early days, Google ran what became known as the 80/20 model – a policy that allowed Googlers to spend 20 percent of their work time on projects close to their heart. As a company that wanted to change the world, it would have been hypocritical of Google to have not allowed their employees to contribute to the change in their own small way. The 80/20 model not only did encourage workers to do more but also helped the company expand its reach into a number of areas like news aggregation and social media where they did not have a presence in until then.
Workspace with a meaning
The thought process and motivations of your employees can be defined by the way their workspace is organized. Let us go back to the example of Evernote. As an app that helps users organize their stuff better, it would be ironical if their office space was a disorganized mess.
Yet a look at their design space shows how the different work areas are neatly organized. As a workspace intended to stimulate creativity, the Evernote office has a few ‘out of the box’ interiors that include growing water-conserving plants on the walls of the lobby.
An employee is motivated to be creative and organized when they see that their workspace is designed to enable them be so.
Every employee is unique and their productivity is not all triggered by the same factors. For instance, an outgoing extrovert may prefer open office spaces with fewer layers of separation between them and their coworkers. At the same time, there are employees who prefer quietness and are most productive when left alone.
Your workforce can be inspired to do great things when they are left to their own devices. This means diversifying your workspace so employees who prefer the quietness can seek solitude without having to compromise on productivity and the experience of others who prefer an engaging workspace.
As ridiculous as it sounds, workspaces are most inspiring when they least resemble office spaces. This means decluttering the space and doing away with any furniture or equipment that your employees don’t need. In addition to this, it is a good idea to include a lot of green and open spaces that help your employees clear their mind up and focus on building things that help bring the company vision alive.
Make your vision prominent
Lastly, no amount of workspace redesigning is going to help if the leadership in your company does not talk about the vision for your organization. Changing the world is an abstract concept that needs to be better defined for your specific industry. Organize routine ‘townhall’ meetings with your employees and communicate your dream along with updates on how the organization is progressing. This helps employees understand their role in the larger scheme of things and they are thus more motivated to keep working towards the company’s objectives.
How does your organization inspire your employees to do greater things? Share your experiences in the comments.
Photo credits: Jasper Sanidad via Design Milk, eOffice