Learn How to Make Your Office Space Look Fun Yet Professional
An office space with a fun aesthetic goes a long way to improving employee morale, teamwork, attracting clients, and even boosting employee wellness. However, there is a limit to how “fun” you can make a corporate space look while still maintaining a professional appearance.
In this article we'll provide some helpful tips and explain how to make your office space look fun yet professional to create a work environment your employees and clients will love.
To begin with, it is important to think about how you want people to feel as they enter your office space as well as the functionality of each aspect you are considering. For example, a spiral slide between two floors in your office may be fun and cool, but depending on your industry and the demographic of your employees this may not be a practical or functional idea.
So let's start with the basics.
Set the Tone with Unique Office Wall Art
One of the most cost-effective and accessible ways to spruce up your office space is with paint and wall art. Wall art is easy enough to find; you could keep things local by shopping with a local artist, scout thrift shops to find some hidden treasures on the cheap, and of course you may find inexpensive wall art and decorations anywhere that sells home decor.
The trick is finding artwork that aligns with your company values or the type of industry you are in. This can make a space feel more personal and refined. Choosing the work of a local artist that creates iconic scenes that showcase the city you've chosen for your corporate headquarters, or perhaps even an artist who supports your work can add a personal touch.
Another trick is to consider the paint color in your office space. Paint is one of the least expensive upgrades that you can do in your office, and it can have such a huge impact on the vibe of your work-space.
Part of making a space more fun means more than just picking one paint color to slap on the walls. Instead, fun paint jobs might include a mural by one of the employees or a local artist, a fun pattern such as geometric shapes in bright colors, thematic paintings completed with your company logo and brand color pallet ... get creative!
Beyond wall art and amplifying the drama of your office space with fun and creative paint colors, you can also use the walls in your office space to display bulletin boards with office and community events, company photos, company values, customer testimonials, and so much more.
Make an accent wall into a chalkboard wall that employees can use for brainstorming or leaving enthusiastic notes to encourage and commend one another. Display leader boards or company goals and progress towards those goals to maintain team enthusiasm.
If your company is international a wall with a large map and clocks showing the time in key cities where you do business is an easy way to make your team and your clients understand that they're part of something big.
Your office walls are literally a blank canvas and adding color, artwork, and text can be one of the easiest ways to modernize your office space and add to its fun factor.
What Your Office Lighting Doesn't (but could) Say About You
Strategic lighting is an art form in itself and doesn’t get enough credit for the impact it can have on worker wellness, productivity, and the mood of your employees and clients when they step into your office.
Consider the lighting found in a clinical setting compared to the lighting you experience in a cozy living room. The feelings you have walking into either of those spaces is completely different and the temperature of lighting plays a large role in that.
Harsh fluorescent lighting does nobody any favors, not to mention there are more modern choices that are better for the environment.
LED bulbs can operate in a range of colors and brightness levels. They also last much longer than fluorescent bulbs and cost less to operate. The brightness of an LED light is best measured in lumens instead of watts and can be found in ranges that mimic sunlight, for example. Consider the impact that warm light can have compared to harsh white light, and design areas of your office with different light temperatures so that employees can focus at their desks and relax in break rooms and lounge areas.
You can (and probably should) also provide task lighting to your employees that they can switch on and off during the day to change the light temperature and brightness at their desks.
Some companies actually program their office lights to change temperature and brightness throughout the day to mimic the movement of the sun. This can help improve focus, and even allow your employees to enjoy more restful sleep when they get home that night, improving energy levels and productivity for your whole team.
Your office lighting is probably an afterthought. But "bright enough" isn't enough. If you're trying to find out how to make your office space look fun yet professional, bringing in a professional lighting expert to redesign your lighting might completely transform your office and help you achieve the look you're going for.
Your Office Furniture and Furnishings Matter
Unique furnishings balanced with functional workspaces can make an office space look more contemporary.
Accent pieces such as coffee tables, couches, rugs, and even healthy, vibrant plants are great additions to common spaces and waiting areas.
Offer diverse seating options for employees in different parts of your office building. This can increase productivity by allowing your team to change up their scenery throughout the day instead of being confined to a desk.
Fine furniture and ergonomic upgrades can help you to attract and retain the best talent in your region, so make investing in your office furniture a big part of your brand identity.
The Importance of Recreation Spaces at Work
Speaking of diverse seating options, employees also function better with well-curated common spaces or recreational spaces.
That boring conference room and tired break room with the disgusting microwave isn't doing you any favors.
Upgrade your kitchenette (it won't cost as much as you think), and expand your available rec space to include ways that employees can blow off a little steam such as a game of foosball or air hockey.
Healthy snacks and offering a variety of beverages (including gourmet coffee) have also been known to be “work perks” that employees enjoy immensely and they can boost morale, productivity, and the pride your team has in working for a company that takes job satisfaction seriously.
Of course, it is important to have a distinct separation between work and play (and you know better than anyone if rec spaces would boost camaraderie or kill productivity in your office).
Our advice is to keep these kinds of recreational spaces separate from work space so that busy employees will not be distracted by those who are enjoying a short break. Of equal importance is strategic placement so that recreational activities are not observed by new clients in your waiting area. New clients will probably not want to feel that they're funding your foosball tournament.
The Importance of Green Space in the Office
Similar to recreational space, functional green space has important health benefits.
If your office has any kind of outdoor space, whether it be a grassy area outside or a terrace, adding shaded areas and seating are excellent ways to encourage employees to get outside on their breaks, enjoy some fresh air, and reinvigorate their bodies before returning to their desks.
Getting outside on a nice day is so good for the human psyche and often automatically means getting a little more physical movement, which is one of the simplest steps to improving workplace wellness and avoiding soft-tissue injuries in the workplace.
Studies have also proven that being around plants and nature can have a profoundly positive impact on the mental health of your workforce. It's money well spent.
It's Not Sexy, but Office Organization Matters Too
Let's face it ... there's nothing about clutter that will make your office space look fun yet professional.
Eliminating clutter will make your space feel more vibrant and lighter without all of that “stuff” weighing you down.
In our digital world, it’s sometimes an oddity to find paper filing systems anymore. If you still use one, consider moving your files to the cloud. Modern office spaces should have a plethora of electronic devices that can sync with various platforms and eliminate the need for excessive paper usage. However, there are certainly valid reasons for maintaining certain hard copy files. In these situations, having a contemporary filing system with fun-colored filing cabinets compared to plain beige can perk up an office space.
Along with that digital world comes an abundance of cables, even “wireless” systems often need to be connected to a power source at one point or another. Thus, cable management becomes an important part of making an office look more polished and professional. This is especially true if your employees are using standing desks in an open office space. Nothing makes these sleek, modern desks look worse than a rat's nest of cables dangling everywhere you look.
Many modern desks come with integrated cable management systems and if the desks your employees are using do not have these available, there are plenty of alternatives such as tubing, sleeves, and adhesive clips that cables can be fed through to make your messy cables and workplace wires a bit more discreet.
Everyone works differently, and not everyone likes a tidy desk ... but a memo about the importance of keeping the workplace clean will usually go over well if framed about work culture and the impression you're trying to make on clients instead of being laser-focused on the stack of empty tuna fish cans on the corner of Leo's desk (WTF, Leo!).
Personalized Work Spaces Work
Not just allowing, but encouraging employees to personalize their workspace is an important part of fostering inclusion and belonging.
Most of us spend a lot of time at work - an amount of time that is probably comparable to the amount of time we actually spend at home. So having a personalized space with pictures of loved ones and pets, plants, and fun stationery that truly make your work environment your own is powerful.
Not only can this make your workforce happier, it can actually help them feel more invested in working for you, and will help you retain your employees. Studies have also shown that it can boost productivity.
Another fun office-wide activity involves thematic, yet tasteful, desk decorating competitions - usually based on the season and associated holidays such as Halloween, festive winter holidays, Valentine’s Day, and the start of spring or summer.
Opportunities like this are a great way to foster a sense of community among your employees, and to create that sense of fun you're looking for in your otherwise professional office space.
Keep Ergonomics and Worker Wellness in Mind
As we learn more about the detrimental effects of sitting all day long, ergonomic workspaces become and even more important feature of a fun and healthy office space.
Incorporating transitional desks that function at both sitting and standing heights is a great start.
To go a step further, the addition of compatible treadmills or even under-desk ellipticals adds an opportunity for movement that employees might not otherwise have at a traditional desk.
Your team will feel valued if you're providing them tools and resources to stay healthy and engaged at their desk.
Be the Executive Everyone Enjoys
I hope these tips and ideas have provided inspiration and helped you discover how to make your office space look fun yet professional. Finding the right balance of fun and functional for your workspace can make a positive difference in the lives of your employees, and investing in your office space (be it furniture, decor, recreational or green spaces, improved lighting, or wellness tools and resources) is always a great investment that will help your business grow.
When your employees take pride in where they work, they'll have more pride in the work they do there. This pride will be evident to every client and customer they interact with, and will influence the way they interact with and treat you and one another.
We are naturally drawn to people who are fun and happy and the same goes for employers and workplaces. What will you improve first in yours?