How to Future-Proof Any Workspace
Get Your Whiteboards Ready ‘Cause It’s About To Go Down!
Up until about 6 months ago, I was freelancing out of a co-working center for over three years, which means I’m obviously qualified to call myself an “expert on workplace innovation.” Since companies seem to be wising up and hopping on the bandwagon, here are ten ways any company can future-proof their own workspace:
1. All of the whiteboards!
It’s no secret that writing on a whiteboard increases your productivity by 17x (or something like that), so why not put them everywhere? The conference rooms, the kitchenette, the urinals. On second thought, you’re just asking for trouble from all of the office bros who waste their artistic talents covering every erasable surface with dicks (which are eerily lifelike, down to the last pube). Maybe you should move all of them to the marketing department…
2. Install standing desks
Come on, it’s the 21st century and companies care about the health of their employees. That’s why you need to cruise on over to IKEA and pick up those fancy standing desks with hydraulic legs. You don’t want to be liable when productivity nosedives thanks to the pesky “death-by-hypertension,” do you? How will you win the intramural company softball championship for the eighth year in a row?
3. Make every day Casual Friday.
Why bother with “business casual” when no one actually knows what it means? Since most of you in the office don’t meet with clients, who are you trying to impress? Each other? What are you, an eight grader at your first mixer? Get rid of the stuffy ties and pantsuits and let everyone express their individuality the only way they know how — matching company graphic tees!
4. Turn that coffee bar into a bar bar.
Sure, drinking at work has been banned since last year’s Christmas party thanks to a few bad apples, but why should everyone else have to suffer? Let’s get more creative with brainstorming sessions by offering up a little liquid courage. Looking for the ultimate team building exercise? Try drinking every time some accidentally clicks “Reply all” while sending an email. Nothing says “happy hour” like turning the coffee bar into an actual bar around 4 PM. Or 3 PM. How about 1 PM? Mimosas anyone?
5. More natural light!
What is this, the early 1990's? Throw out all of that harsh fluorescent lighting and install some fancy hue lights that change depending on the time of day. Not only will it help with eye strain, everyone will look significantly better for that 10 AM conference call. Better yet, if you’re feeling froggy, how about you steer into the skid and acknowledge your company’s inequality by installing an actual glass ceiling and then shattering it? Sure, it’ll be pricey, but at least you’ll have way more natural light.
6. Force “serendipitous collisions.”
Come on, we’ve all heard this phrase by now…and like most people, we’re still not 100% sure what the hell it means. According to a TED talk you once watched as part of “professional development,” it’s apparently a fancy way of saying “random conversations.” If this is true, just cover up all of the exits and force everyone in and out of one door. See, that wasn’t so hard. Wait, what do you mean it’s a “fire hazard?!”
7. Offer “alternative” food options.
These days, the most innovative companies are ponying up hundred of thousands of dollars to give their employees the best that fine dining has to offer. From vocal vegans to fussy foodies, you’ll have to satisfy everyone’s delicate palate. You’ve heard of farm-to-table, right? Welp, for the sake of “efficiency,” why not cut out the middleman and try farm-to-desk? Come to think of it, who has time to eat lunch anyway? Get back to work!
8. Set up a green screen.
You mean to tell me you want to have a company of the future and you don’t even have a studio for content creation? How else will prospective employees and clients know how amazing the company culture is? How do you mix up the backgrounds for each vlog episode? Wait, you don’t have a vlog?! Oy vey. I guess you’ll have to showcase your most attractive, racially-ambiguous employees the old fashioned way — by plastering them on a giant billboard.
9. Embrace an open-floor plan.
What’s taken your company so long to get rid of those God-awful cubicles? We all know you can’t trust anyone when they’re hiding behind three-and-half walls covered in gross fabric. They could be on Facebook, watching Netflix, or playing Candy Crush (does anyone still play that?) That’s why you need to knock down all of the walls and force people to work while awkwardly staring at each other from two feet away. How else can you shove “cross-functional collaboration” down their throats?
10. Hire more millennials!
How can you expect your company to be future-proof when most of the people who work there will be retiring in the next 2–3 years? It’s time to shake things up and get some fresh blood. Just make sure that fresh blood knows how to use Instagram TV, create Snapchat filters, and while they’re at it, make a café au lait. I’m sure they’ll be jumping at the chance if it means finally paying off their astronomical student loans!
William Frazier is a designer, writer, founder, and productive fumbler who blogs about making ideas happen at The Imperfectionist. For helpful tidbits on making your own ideas happen, join his newsletter and follow him on Twitter.