Making that office pop

Jul 12, 2006

If you watch reality TV at all, you’ve probably heard the new word. It’s “pop.” Everything is supposed to do it— and you, as the orchestrator of change— are supposed to make it happen. The new wheels on that car will make it “pop.” The new red pillows placed on that sofa will make it “pop.” The cayenne pepper you sprinkled on that chicken kabob will make it “pop.” It got me thinking. What can you do to make an A/E/P or environmental firm’s office pop? How can you make the workplace more vibrant, more exciting, and more productive? How can you create an impression on potential clients or employees that they won’t quickly forget? Make your office pop— that’s how! So here are some ideas for you: Increase the noise level. That’s right, I said increase (not decrease) the office noise level. Bang a gong every time a big job is sold. Turn on some stimulating background music. Tear the doors off your private offices. Reduce partition heights. Increase population density in your space. Have video monitors playing messages from your president, testimonials from clients, and showing off your projects. All of these things will help create a buzz and a feeling of life in your office to give it pop. Add more and varied light sources. Light wakes people up. No light tells your brain (and your body) to go to sleep. The right light also creates drama. I remember we once bought about 50 $5.95 desk lamps and made sure every single one of ‘em was plugged in and turned on prior to an open house. The effect was fantastic, and the place popped! Art, art, and more art! My experience is that architecture, interiors, and landscape architecture firms are filled with artists. Many of these people love to paint and sculpt. Why not let them show off their work in your office? It could help the office pop. Pick out a new color palette. The blues and greys of the 80s are out. Come up with new colors that get people excited. There is science about colors and how they affect mood and productivity. Tap into that knowledge to do something different in your offices so they pop. Don’t look like “Stodge, Inc.” Create new seating and gathering areas. Landscape architects will tell you that if you want people to enjoy an outdoor space, you need to give ‘em somewhere to sit. It makes good sense, then, that you should do the same thing inside your office. Arrange seating so people can converse. Who knows what will come from these interactions— perhaps something new and creative that will be a breakthrough on a project— or for your business overall. Help the creative process pop in your office with gathering spaces. Get new signage. I believe in signage. I would get the biggest sign that local signage ordinances allow. Why not draw attention to your presence? Design professionals are way too low-key for their own good. Make your name pop with big signs. Add toys and props. Pinball machines, vintage bicycles, sports memorabilia, architectural artifacts— all these things help make the space “pop” with excitement. Pack ‘em in. There’s nothing like a lot of people working in a small space to make it pop with energy. Increase interaction amongst those in the office. Make it more like busy beehive than an abandoned warehouse. Add movement. Moveable sculpture, video monitors, and the boss on a Segway all add movement and help make the office pop. The difference in doing really well versus just getting by in this business is not that great. Maybe it’s time you added some pop to your offices and pushed over that line! Originally published 7/12/2006

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.