Far too many companies who make their living from creative work are actively (though unintentionally) hampering their creative output by sticking their best people in drab, uniform, confining cubicles.
“A cubicle environment can reflect the undercurrents that both enhance and inhibit creativity and innovation,” says Jill E. Perry-Smith, assistant professor of organization and management at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. “To employees, they may symbolize a rigid way of approaching work and may not suggest creative ways of thinking.”
This leads to some professionals taking matters into their own hands – adding cubicle furniture, accessories and toying around with unorthodox cubicle ideas to make their cubicle work for their creativity, not against it.
Cubicle ideas for beginners. If your company prefers to keep cubicles simple and uniform, you’ll probably have to keep any cubicle redecorating on the down low. That means screaming-loud cubicle accessories are out – but that doesn’t mean you can’t put a little personality in your cubicle, far from it!
If your company’s IT department will let you, install a screensaver that can summon up your favorite picture set. Upload a picture of your kids, the last vacation you took (by the way, how much vacation time have you got coming?) or scenes from your favorite motion picture (keep it safe for work, though – you don’t want your boss to walk into your cubicle just as a still from Last Tango in Paris is coming up on your screen!
Expert level cubicle ideas and tips. More creative companies recognize the role of workplace cubicle personalization in increasing productivity. The best companies of this sort actively solicit creative workplace ideas, building creative spaces to enhance their employees’ creativity to the utmost.
Take the offices of Red Bull London, as depicted in the DesignVerb blog. The office boasts of a slide, a bar and a café, and ultra-modern lounge and conference areas that are sure to spike one’s creative juices (as if a casefull of free Red Bull tonic isn’t going to help).
Reports DesignVerb, “Jump-Studios has created a dynamic interactive space pumped full of adrenaline in this 3 floor escapade… Any tie wearing client is bound to transform into a cool craving stunt junkie after a quick plunge here.”
If you don’t have a top-flight design firm doing your cubicle accessories, you can go wild with your own budget and your own cubicle ideas. Just make sure you run any wild ideas by a cubicle mate if you have one – you don’t want to be imposing your style on his or her workspace!
Finally, make sure your cubicle creativity doesn’t get in the way of your efficiency. Marguerite Carlson of Organize-U offers what she calls a three-minute test: “If you can find a particular sheet of paper or a file or piece of equipment — whatever it is you need — in three minutes or less, you’re organized,” says Carlson.
Carlson advises her clients to get rid of cubicle clutter – “when you can clear the clutter, you really are clearing out your life,” she says. Marilyn Roy of “Simplify” agrees – “The idea is to clear out everything that you don’t want, don’t need, or that isn’t relevant to your work or your sanity while at work.”