In Yahoo!’s office in Barcelona, Jackson Pollack-like paint splatters spread over the walls. Madison Avenue Collective, a group of Oregon-based freelancers, has a graffiti mural sprawling over one of its office walls. You can liven up your office by doing something similar. If you don’t think you could get higher-ups to sign off on this kind of decoration, try livening things up with unique artwork. Consider searching for a company that specializes in making corporate art, or try stopping by local coffee shops and restaurants to find work by local artists.
Missing Link, a company based in Johannesburg that designs corporate presentations, has plenty of features to help its employees de-stress. There’s the ping-pong table, for a friendly competition with a co-worker. But there’s also the shooting range, for those who prefer to de-stress in a more solitary way. Of course, not every company can install a shooting range in the office. But the lesson here is to offer something that will let workers get away from the routine. That may be a treadmill, or a foosball table, or maybe something as simple as Legos or tinker toys they can play around with for a little while to take a break from work.
Who says you have to stick with the usual abstract paintings? The Heineken office in New York features hundreds of beer bottle bottoms installed in the walls of its entrance. Duke Studios features an office filled with colorful decorations made from cardboard, which is just a step down from the Nothing offices I’ve mentioned before, where practically every item is made from cardboard. Think about the product or service that you offer, and see if you can come up with a creative way to incorporate that into your office design.
If your window views afford you nothing but a look at the gray building next door, why not create greener pastures, right in the office? Take the Skype office in Palo Alto, for example—outdoorsy furniture like red deck chairs and large gray cushions that look like stones sit on top of circular green rugs. You can accomplish the same effect with some well-chosen furniture, or even a collection of well-chosen plants.
The Twitter’s office features a pair of green deer sculptures sitting in one corner of its building. A life-size Hulk figure overlooks the Dallas office in mobile app development company Big in Japan. At Ohio-based design firm Dynamit, the decorative and unusual also meets practical in the form of a steel door, which serves as a conference table. Why not consider visiting an antique store or flea market and seeing what you can find? We’re sure there’s a whole world of non-garden gnome pieces that can add some flair to your lobby.
With enough time and brainstorming, your office can be a place that inspires workers to be creative and productive—and thankfully, you don’t have to have Google-like revenue to design it.