It's no surprise that teams around the globe continuously look for ways to improve their workspace. We spend the majority of our week at the office, so it's important to create an environment that is not only productive, but also fosters creative thinking. Here are a few things that can be implemented in the office that can yield great results.
1. Block Out "Clean Time," Including "No-Meeting Wednesday"
Your highest levels of productivity and biggest breakthroughs can come from what we at Soma call "clean time." "Clean time" is an uninterrupted part of the day, usually 2 - 4 hours, in which you can focus solely on completing one big project. This is the perfect time to be creative, attack your to do list, or finally get that daunting brainstorm done that you've been trying to complete all week. We encourage people to enjoy "clean time" every morning before lunch. These longer blocks of time without scheduled meetings, phone calls, or other office interruptions allow everyone to focus on important projects.
2. Office Pets
We love having dogs in the Soma office because they bring a vibrant energy to our space. Research has even proven that pets in the workplace have a positive impact on stress reduction, which can ultimately lead to increased productivity and coworker cooperation. Office pets offer a great opportunity for teams to bond, keep employees lighthearted, and ensure that we don't take things too seriously. Playing with the dogs also affords a nice break on a busy, stressful day -- it undoubtedly serves as an immediate morale boost too.
3. Office Meditations
Practicing 15 minutes of meditation a day has paid dividends at Soma. We've seen that employees are more focused, relaxed, and happy throughout the entire work week. We use a service called Journey Meditation, which places a meditation instructor in the office once a week to guide the team through a meditation practice. It's the first thing we do on Monday mornings, and employees are encouraged to take time to meditate daily on their own at the office. Studies have shown that meditation can improve health and wellness, which can make employees more resilient to stress and sickness throughout the year.
4. "Work From Anywhere" Week
Various working styles are inevitable. But in an open office space, work styles can end up becoming a meshed average, and create inadvertent, negative effects to individual workflow. "Work from anywhere" week allows people to work however and wherever they want. At Soma, you can work anywhere in the world during a designated week in the quarter. Employees use it to travel and work remotely from places like Australia, London, and even Nicaragua. Originally, we anticipated that there would be a negative correlation between creativity and productivity during the weeks away from the office. However, we've actually seen increases in both execution and creative thinking, because people can work however style is best suited for them.
5. Personal Development Goals
At Soma, each employee selects a personal development goal (PDG) to focus on achieving for six months. Employees are encouraged to connect with peers and mentors one-on-one on a regular basis to discuss, and ultimately support each other, in achieving their PDG. Personal development is the glue that holds any organization together. It provides a constant discussion topic amongst employees, while bringing conversations back to something that is motivational, purposeful, and also helpful to the growth of the business overall.