When we think about inspiring workplaces (IWP), a word pops up: Google. This giant company represents a dream workplace. They do know how to rock employees’ happiness. The good news is that you don’t need to have a Google’s budget to make a IWP. Instead, what you need in the first place is a transformational mindset change (and a will to invest a couple of coins might be useful too) towards a culture of happiness and inspiration.
Here’s a small story based on a real situation that illustrates how many bosses react to unconventional offices:
One day, a department decided to innovate a little bit the office’s appearance. It was an open space and the difference after the renewal was actually small: you could see brighter walls and roofs and whiter desks and chairs. The biggest change was that in the middle, there was an office quiet zone or focus room, where you could see two sofas facing each other, just like in the example bellow. It was an inspiring meeting place. However, during a visit from one manager, that sofa was seen as a symbol of laziness, instead of an inspiring workplace. That reaction became more visible when someone made a joke to justify the buy:
– Here, it’s where we spent our working days, sleeping – He ironized, to answer the bosses’ facial results-results-results expression.
This story is a bad example of reacting to inspiring workplaces. But fortunately, there are amazing stories and companies that live a different philosophy, focused on making their people happy.
Unconventional and happy offices: the Google’s mindset
Gaming places and breakout zones? Imagine your boss’s face expression if you would dare to ask him for those benefits. Then, you can figure it out what kind of leader you have (just kidding… not).
Letting employees have fun at work? It sounded crazy for bosses and amazing for employees when became public that at the Google offices employees could play ping pong, play music, sleep, go to the gym, and much more. For many employers, it still sounds an offense to the culture of work, results, performance, and progress (needless to say, those are the ones who suffer from the brain’s drain).
The Google budget to built such things is not the central part. There are many, many, multinationals-full-of-money that just don’t make any investment in such unconventional and funny offices. Why? Because they lack the philosophy behind it. It’s about freedom, entrepreneurship-mindset, transparency, voice and value, happiness and productivity.
This topic has never been so close to the spotlight. The Millenials are demanding creatures. They want better: benefits, salaries, leadership, and inspiration. Don’t get me wrong, this is what everybody wants. I believe that Millenials are good at vocalizing them louder, now, that the basic rights were conquered thanks to the previous generation’s efforts, we must say.
Fun at work: what?
An inspiring workplace is one of the best strategies for having truly highly motivated employees, to hire the best of the young talents and to “make the world a better place”, as the founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin daydreamed.
The traditional leadership focuses on results, the worldwide best example, Google’s strategy to motivate employees, focuses on people:
“To create the happiest, most productive workplace in the world.”
“It’s less about the aspiration to be No. 1 in the world, and more that we want our employees and future employees to love it here, because that’s what’s going to make us successful.”
Vice President of people development at Google. Source: Cleverism
Some of the Google offices were designed to create fun at work, being the slide and climbing walls to transitioning from a floor two great examples. What this kind of fun feature does is nurturing, caring for, empowering employees. It means to treat employees like family.
When the work is demanding, fun is key. This is what the employees from the Portuguese start-up Farfetch said to the journalists. Jus like Google, the Farfetch offices are designed to make people happy.
If you have the chance, make the change
It doesn’t matter if you have a big or a small business, you can build an inspiring office that will motivate your employees. You can outsource an agency or you can gather a team of employees to design it. All you need is to embrace this vision of a happy workplace. If you don’t have the budget for a slide, maybe you have it for a quiet office zone, an esplanade, a ping pong table. Whatever you might do towards the goal of making your people happy will bring you motivated employees, a family spirit, happiness, results, and success.
If you are not the boss and you believe that you could have a IWP, make a plan, present it. Just do it and make your people happy 🙂