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Create a Workspace That Matches Your Culture

by Kevin Ackerman, Staples® Contributing Writer

It’s a sad but true fact: You probably spend more time at your office than anywhere else. And while you’ve likely designed your home to match your personality, it’s a fair assumption you haven’t given the same thought to how your offices reflect your company’s culture.

Offers.com in Austin, TX, can’t say that about their office. Suffering from a drab, stuffy workspace, the company recently redesigned its office, giving it a personality to match the brand. And the move had a domino effect on the company’s employees, increasing their creativity at work by embracing their individual workspaces.

Whether you’re moving in to new digs or just want to spruce up your existing spaces, here are some ideas for how you can give your office more personality.

Enhance Culture with Color

Sometimes, all you need is a splash of paint. Offers.com painted its office walls bright orange and sky blue to lighten up the space and added a company mural near the entrance — a big upgrade from the boring tan walls the officemates shared before. “We put a lot of thought into what they would enjoy and what colors would express our fun culture to visitors and newcomers,” says office manager Angie Spain.

Make Employee Desks More Personal

At individual desks, colored office organization products can be great ways for workers to make their own stamp. Manufacturers like Poppin offer everything from supplies to office organization products in an array of hues, making it easy for employees to infuse their workspaces with colors they love.

You can also suggest that team members show off their hobbies and interests, and make their personal workspaces part of the fun with custom calendars, bobble head dolls and other tchotchkes. For those who are less spirited, simple spaces that create feelings of workplace zen with bonsai trees, comfortable office chairs and bamboo chairmats are nice.

Foster Creative Thought

Some of the most important areas of any workspace are the collaboration spaces. That’s why it’s critical to have nooks and rooms that are open and bright, and that foster creative group work. After all, if you want people to think outside the box, the workspace should follow that aesthetic.

When remodeling the Offers.com space, the company decided to knock out the outer walls of its conference rooms and replace them with windows that offer great views of the surrounding hills. The rooms, which are named after streets in Austin and are decorated with large portraits of well-known local hot spots, feature some of the latest office technology, like large, flat-screen televisions with laptop hookups that are ideal for presentations. For those who want more flexibility about where they work, the company also purchased five rolling dry-erase boards.

There’s no rule that says you have to include traditional chairs and boardroom tables in your conference rooms and collaborative spaces. Other businesses opt for bean bag chairs, standing desks and benches, and enhance their rooms’ themes with design touches, whether spaces are named for mountains, towns, business leaders, colleges, animals or something else.

Embrace New Office Trends

Today’s workspaces put a priority on collaboration and creativity. Focusing on reducing clutter and creating a clean, modern space with fun touches allows for both a personal workspace and increased team collaboration. It’s up to you to inspire creativity at work and keep your modern workplace moving with the times.

Kevin Ackerman is passionate about technology and helping small businesses make the most of their resources. When he’s not writing, Kevin enjoys traveling, introducing people to his hometown of Portland, OR, and rooting for the Boston Red Sox. You can connect with him on Google+.

(Photo courtesy of Offers.com Video Production Associate Ryan Gronquist)

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