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Is Your Workplace Designed to Improve Productivity?

Post by Matthew Jenkin (The Guardian)

· Workplace,Better People,Better Environments

Research shows having a Google-style workplace with slides and beanbags increases productivity. Tell us what unusual improvements you have made to your office in the comment section below.

If we are to believe the trailer for Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn's latest comedy caper The Internship, Google's offices are a fairground where employees are given carte blanche to doodle ideas on windows, play ping-pong any time of day and gawk at driver-less cars cruising around the internet giant's impeccably landscaped grounds.

It sounds like fun and creating a playful work environment is not as frivolous as it may seem. In a Guardian article on workplace design last year, SME entrepreneur Daniel Keighron-Foster explains why refitting the offices of his IT firm Melbourne, complete with games and beanbags, increased productivity and loyalty to the company.

"The idea is to make it impossible for someone to want to leave," he says. "If you look at the costs of bringing on a new person, recruitment, months before they're fully productive … I would say the additional cost of the office is easily outweighed."

Daniel added: "We have a competitor – a much bigger company – who are the antithesis of us, very suit and tie. If we advertise a position we tend to get four or five of their staff applying for it. That says it all to me."

Research by the British Council of Offices found that the majority of workers preferred bespoke, funky fit-outs, with 60% saying it improved their productivity. The What Workers Want report claimed demand was greatest from employees aged 18 to 24, with 43% preferring a non-traditional office opposed to 28% whose preference was for a standard corporate design.

We want to hear about your wacky workplaces. What big or small changes have you made to your office space to make it a more comfortable and inspiring place to work? Have you followed in the footsteps of Google by refitting your company's office with a slide and a pool table? If so, has it had a positive effect on productivity and staff morale? Or is it all a pretentious waste of time? Share your stories and thoughts in the comment section below.

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