Think of a fishbowl: the last thing that fish discover is water. That’s because when you’re in it, all you can see is what’s outside.
The modern office environment is no different. When things don’t go well at work, everything else can become a consideration for change: bonuses, discipline, training, and even promotional increases. Few, people however, ever think about the things contained in the office as a possible solution.
Here’s a story I heard that speaks to the value of things in the workplace environment in comparison with other approaches to issues like poor communication and lack of performance.
After World War II, the United States entered an extreme growth period, and people were eating out more. When the G.I.s came home, they often took over the position of restaurant cooks, which had formerly been held by women. Women now became order-takers. This naturally created a degree of hostility between the front and back ends of restaurants. It resulted in so much conflict: name-calling back and forth, intentional slowdowns, walk-outs. It was a mess. As a result, customers walked out in droves.
Out of concern, the National Restaurant Association called in Dr. White, a social scientist, to help solve the problem. While the obvious answer for many would have been to work on behavior and communication skills to reverse the results, Dr. White suggested changing the things within the environment. The order wheel was invented: a fifty-cent tool allowing the wait staff to write down orders and attach them to the wheel. The cooks would then process the order, usually on a first-in, first-out basis. This thing changed the way the process was engaged, and from that time forward, it required little to no verbal communication. It changed the restaurant industry completely.
Office environments are no different. We can pre-frame with our selection of tools, shapes, and colors, and use quality to demonstrate how these things shape our lives and style. Social science has long shown how environment can shape behavior—how we think and respond. It has shown us how replacing broken windows and cleaning up graffiti can change entire communities. It has shown us how people respond to environments that dictate how they should act.
At 90 Degree Office Concepts, we have witnessed this firsthand. Our staff of builders and finishers keep a meticulously clean and organized facility: the floors are immaculate, and every screw and part is kept in place by size. We have discovered firsthand how a shop environment can dictate, without words, the level of detail we expect to deliver to our clients. While it’s not fancy, our shop organization speaks to the level of quality we expect from all team members.
Because we know the office environment is critical to the flow, process, and mindset of workers and visitors, our service model offers you the ability to match your style to your business profile, your chosen color to the mood you envision, size to fit space and function, and material to represent the look and feel that speaks directly to who you are as a company.
A thoughtfully-designed modern reception area lets people know who you are from the moment they walk into your workplace. What’s more, after they have been there for a short period of time, they will experience in subtle ways the planning that went into your workplace. While they may not realize what you have done, they will be able to clearly feel it—by the height of the chair, the fabric you have selected, the visual experience you offer in your modern reception desk, and the mood you suggest with your color palette.
You have an experience to offer your staff and visitors, and your décor can offer up silent cues as to how they should think, behave, and respond. We at 90 Degree Office Concepts can help you select the tools that work for your business, whether it’s color, shape, size, or material. We want to help create the environment that will change your workplace life.