Does Your Office Need To Ditch The Ping-Pong Table?

Tech startups have develop into well-known for his or her “cool” workplace areas replete with “grownup toys” like climbing walls, razor scooters and ping-pong tables. However how can corporations strike the precise stability between making a enjoyable, collaborative workplace area and one that’s too lax and distracts staff from being productive? Whereas there are not any onerous and quick guidelines, listed below are some smart pointers from main workplace designers and office consultants:

  1. The Key Is “Stability”

“Ping pong tables, nap nooks, and different flashy workplace design options symbolize how creativity has taken middle stage over inflexible conventional administration practices. Employers worth concepts and are desirous to design areas that not solely entice inventive thinkers, but in addition stimulate them sufficient to ignite innovation. This results in higher merchandise, companies and processes, which supplies the corporate a aggressive benefit,” explains Steve Delfino, vp of company advertising and product administration at Teknion, an workplace methods furnishings firm that makes a speciality of office wellness.

He continues, “No matter which trade we work in, all of us function in quite a lot of modes all through the day — we create, converse, analyze and share — all actions that require completely different settings to achieve success. The reply is stability — creating an workplace atmosphere that caters to the untethered, fashionable employee who seeks motion, flexibility and comfort, whereas incorporating each collaborative areas and personal areas like these proven beneath.”

An workplace area constructed for collaboration. (Picture credit score: Teknion)

Nonetheless, Delfino warns that furnishings alone doesn’t change company tradition. “A chunk of furnishings or planning model shouldn’t be sufficient to affect an organization’s workplace tradition. For instance, inserting a settee within the middle of a conventional workplace area won’t mechanically create a extra open and collaborative atmosphere. Workers will take cues from administration on how they’re anticipated to make use of their atmosphere whereas on the job. Implementation is simply as essential because the design of the area; it’s important to encourage staff to make the most of these areas. For example, we have now designed a group table that can be utilized in convention areas or open areas to affect collaboration and engagement between staff.

A group table designed by Teknion. (Picture credit score: Teknion)

  1. Think about Performance

Erica Stokes, director of HR at Poppin, a NYC-based main supplier of office furnishings and equipment, says her firm has tried to strike a stability “by creating an area for individuals to collaborate not solely to unravel robust enterprise issues, but in addition to have a little bit enjoyable the place they are often #workhappy.” To realize this, she recommends incorporating items that serve twin functions. “For example, we design and manufacture a ping pong conference table, which sits in our largest convention room. From 9 to five, it is used for main conferences with executives, traders, shoppers and one another. However round 6 p.m., the area fully transforms right into a space for pleasant competitors. We additionally see big worth in creating each collaborative areas and personal assembly areas, placing up white boards, constructing out completely different sized assembly rooms — and inspiring our shoppers to do the identical.” A well-designed workplace area may help talk the targets of an organization higher than any verbal slogan, and having to transform from work to play deliberately can lower the distraction of a completely put in play construction.

This table from Poppin converts from work to play. (Picture credit score: Poppin)

  1. Entry and Angle Over Toys

Scott Lesizza, principal at Workwell Partners, a cutting-edge supplier of workspace furnishing options, shouldn’t be an enormous fan of X-boxes and foosball tables. He says they make an workplace really feel an excessive amount of like Animal Home. “Tech and media corporations need to be perceived as mature, established and financially wholesome organizations, each internally and to the skin world. Facilities presently provided are likely to look extra just like the foyer of an open, hip lodge (temper music included), or a quad on a bustling school campus, simply indoors.” Nonetheless, he notes, it’s attainable to create an brisk workplace with out designing one which looks like a frat home lounge. “The secret’s to offer workplace facilities which can be enjoyable and that proceed to advertise an atmosphere the place nice concepts can blossom, a way of group grows, and that additionally replicate an organization that’s not within the start-up mentality, however constructing for the lengthy haul.”

For him, workplace structure is crucial design function. “For executives, you get far more out of your crew in case you are within the trenches. For those who’re going to ask your individuals to sit down on 5-foot lengthy benches, you higher be sitting on one too. Most C-Suite executives that we communicate with favor to keep up their full floor-to-ceiling glass places of work with an open door coverage, and a willingness to interact their individuals ‘on the ground.’ The open door coverage extends to permitting their personal places of work for use for varied functions, equivalent to mini convention rooms and sometimes multi-occupancy rooms. It’s essential to be partaking, however not too shut in order to be intimidating.” The outdated idea of “administration by strolling round” performs a lot better when the supervisor is seen recurrently in all method of roles and areas. Openness encourages productiveness, loyalty and reciprocity, particularly within the fast-moving world of tech.

So, do you want to ditch that ping-pong table? Possibly not, however planning the structure of your workplace area and being current together with your crew in that area are extra essential than making an attempt to make the area really feel “enjoyable” with the most recent devices.

@kate_l_harrison and discover my advertising consulting enterprise on-line at