Work This Way
Posted by: Lizzie Healy
The Ideal Workspace
Hanging on a roof deck, sun shining, weather in the mid-80's, with a refreshing adult beverage next to me. The perfect weekend, or the perfect workday? While the the typical office used to evoke images of tan walls, claustrophobic cubes, sterile conference rooms and bad coffee, the definition of office space has pivoted. A well designed office includes modern creative spaces where comfort leads to innovation. While this shift has been occurring in offices like Google and Twitter for years, the move took place for Devshop just last week as we relocated our office from a typical tan office downtown to a funky, fun workspace in Midtown. And it led us to a few realizations about the way we work in our field and in our space. As developers, designers, and entrepreneurs, creativity and innovation are as relevant to our success as technical skill. (Humblebrag, we are also highly technically skilled.) A creative workspace is not about having a foosball table, it's about creating an environment that adapts to every type of worker. Every member of our team manages their tasks in a unique way, but no matter what our workspace style is, we can find it here. Each team member has a unique situation or setting that caters to their specific work needs.
Workspace Realization #1: Silence IS Golden
During an average workday, we get interrupted 6 times every hour. If you sit next to a Chatty Cathy, that number is probably even greater. Silence is golden for a reason Cathy, with studies showing that these constant interruptions have a noticeable affect on productivity. More noise can lead to high levels of stress and have a negative effect on work. When discussing this blog post, one of our DevTeamers waxed poetically about the "Harry Potter Room" in the Copely Library at the University of San Diego. His best workspace was a uniquely designed library room made to look like it was straight out of the mystical book, except with an added bonus: complete silence. The room was so silent you could hear a pin drop. Most of our team agreed that a dream office includes a silent place to focus.
Workspace Realization #2: A Room with A View
Staring at the same walls every day can drastically stunt creativity. While many offices spaces opt for the of-so-charming florescent light, having a view is roundly viewed as the way to go. A great thing about working in tech is most of us can work anywhere, or atleast anywhere that has a place to plug in our laptop charger. An amazing view? Yes, please. Natural light? Heck yes. Increasing natural light in an office helps employees sleep better and get to work more rested and ready to work.
Workspace Realization #3: Space to Pace
How often do you get up from your desk? Having space to walk around and pace a bit before returning to your desk is a necessary element in creativity. We at Devshop are so lucky to live and work in New York City, surrounded by shapes, sounds, and colors that inspire us. A ten-minute walk can be the key to figuring out that problem you couldn't solve. Compared with sitting, studies found getting up and walking around in any form can increase creative thinking up to 60%. Jumpmanjumpmanjumpman up out of your desk chair, immediately.
Workspace Realization #4: Turn on, tune in, drop out
Plugged in with no idea what's going on around you is bliss to some of our DevTeam. Listening to instrumental, hip hop, electronica -depending on how amped we need to be - gets us in the zone. When it's a task a worker performs on a regular basis, music has been shown to increase concentration.
Workspace Realization #5: B$*#% don't kill my vibe
One of our favorite elements of our new workspace is the energy. The vibe in the office is one where people are passionate about their ideas, innovation, and making great things happen. This also happens to also be a cornerstone of the Devshop philosophy. With all of these creative people buzzing around you, it's hard not to feel inspired. In fact, many offices are now designed to create pathways that increase chance encounters and run ins. In this scenario, chatter is a good thing because it can lead to increased familiarity between coworkers and allow for conversations that lead to collaborations, solutions, and productivity.
With so many different personalities in a company, having a variety of workspace options that are suited to different work styles and tasks is the key to making sure that employees are able to do their best work. With a few days under our belts at the new office, we started to explore the different options and locations. Feeling out what works, what we liked and what we hated. Despite all the options at the office, the majority of time will still be spent at the home base of a familiar desk. The new workspace is like a cereal aisle: even with a plethora of options, most of us will choose the same bowl every day...but there's a comfort in knowing you have options.
There's a comfort in the knowledge that you have freedom, and are not sectioned off and put in a corner. Working in a creative workspace has given us the opportunity to see something different every day, work somewhere different every day, and build even better ideas.