Building (a Fort of) Workplace Motivation
Why do people come to work?
There is a technically sound and politically correct answer to this question. And we’ve all used it to get through our job interviews. But when you really think about what motivates you to put off the fires in the morning and get to your workplace, you’ll realise it is the little things that make work worth it. We spend most of our hours working with and around our work places and let’s be honest, it gets to us sometimes.
This is why businesses and offices around the world are spending time to help their employees enjoy what they do. And your work space is an important part of this equation. Viking, an office stationery supplier in UK seems to have cracked the code.
Post the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season, Viking asked their employees to decorate their desks to cope with the holiday hangover. They weren’t prepared for the energy that their employees would bring to this idea. The creative team decided that they would surprise everyone by going above and beyond and built a giant cardboard fort, complete with a collapsible door and a flag!
Four members, 7 hours and 500 pieces of cardboard later the team had built themselves a fortress. If you’ve ever played with a Lego set, you can imagine just how much fun working on the fort must have been. The four colleagues worked overnight and set up cameras to catch the expressions of their colleagues as they saw the fort for the first time the next day. They said seeing how thrilled their colleagues were was worth all the planning and hard work. And the warmth of the team shines through their blog where they share tricks and tips to do something of your own!
Viking has a past of such stokes of genius. They created a Star-War inspired wall art out of post-its as office decor that made its share of rounds on the internet. And to round this off, Viking claimed that this boosted employee productivity and enhanced their season’s output. A working environment that lets you harness your creative side ensures that you don’t become lax in your work. Especially with easy access to addictive distractions, it is important to find ways to help workers inhabit the workspace physically and intellectually.
Innovation in how to boost morale has always been an economic question. It’s a well established fact now that the carrot and stick logic doesn’t work. To optimise people’s creativity and commitment to work, we must, to put it simply, make coming to work fun! We’re moving past the cubicle model of interacting with each other and onto a more collaborative idea of working. Employees need to feel energized and motivated to do what they love. People work for the love of challenges – to accomplish better and for intellectual stimulation. Yes, this might cost the company something but it will lead to larger gains.
Richard Florida and Jim Goodnight in Managing for Creativity for the Harvard Business Review make a case for investing in innovative means for fostering interaction between different stakeholders – employees, employers and customers. They rightly point out that a company’s most important asset is its Creative Capital. We are moving past the pure incentive model of motivation. We need to see our work places differently and get the most out of them.
Of course there are a bunch of listicles on how to boost creativity in the workspace. What is most important to remember is that there is no one size fits all formula. Rally your forces and see what helps everyone recharge themselves. More importantly, help them reaffirm their decision to work with you.
So what makes you want to come to work?