We participated in a panel discussion of “How COVID Killed the Traditional Workplace” as part of a two-day Indiana Workforce Summit in September 2021. (3:56)
In our segment, Wendy Spreenberg shares some simple elements to create a more uplifting work environment using paint, color, banners and easy, inexpensive solutions. Providing this in both an office setting, in a shop and/or warehouse so that ALL workers have exceptional space. These suggestions are meant to solve employee attraction AND retention.
Our co-panelists are labor law attorney, Paul Geiger, and Margie Rodino, Chief Culture Officer for Robert Weed Corporation and our moderator is Macy Troyer of Blossm Social Media and Marketing Consulting.
Macy Troyer: Successful strategies in this environment can’t be a static response. Today, strategies and solutions need to be movable, imaginative and fluid. How are each of you seeing executive teams and companies reimagine and re evaluate their leadership and even their physical space? Wendy, I’m going to turn this one to you now.
Wendy Spreenberg: Well, thanks. We absolutely love space as an experience. And of course, that’s who we are as a group. We are really in a period of reinvention, not just adjustment, but reinvention to Margie’s point, you have to rethink exactly what you’re doing so movable, imaginative and fluid is where we live as an organization. So I wanted to share some demonstrations of this. The idea is, everybody from the shop floor to the front office should be inspired, and delighted and surprised when they come into the office and energized every day. So how can you achieve some of that? So we’ve created some pictures, here are some projects that we’ve worked on, as well as some others.
On the first one, so you may see that first one on the left is actually a project we did in the North Shore of Chicago, it is actually a co working space, which you may or may not be familiar with. But the reason I wanted to bring up this slide is this is a lunchroom/café that could be deployed in any office, any manufacturing facility as your lunch room, copied into your event space. The details here are light and color, and all it takes us a coat of paint. So the furniture that’s in this space to every stick of furniture is movable and can be repositioned for an event in the space. In fact, we’ve removed the furniture in one night had a salsa lesson in the space, so you can reinvent in many different ways.
Every piece of furniture can be moved to create a training event as well as a presentation in that environment. On the right is a friend of ours in Portland, who is an interior designer who contracted with the muralist for a company that she was working with to design their reception area. How inspiring is just color to welcome visitors, clients, as well as your own employees, and the fact that you own it and how inspiring is it for you?
The next slide, what we wanted to feature was the idea that now we’re in an area of exploring safety and security and bringing in reassurance and bringing people back to the workplace. So our photo on the left is just a photo we found to incorporate plants in the workplace. Specifically in the office area, you can see that there’s also a distancing the air quality there, the plants we’ll include will improve and contribute to the air quality in a positive direction. You can also see that in between each seat is about a distance of six feet, which is what we’ve been talking about already.
One of the other features of this particular photo that isn’t included is the idea on the right of banners. You can even incorporate banners, as opposed to plexiglass, which I’m not a fan of, now that we’ve gotten past a certain point. Incorporate banners in between the workstations. It creates a sense of safety and security of air quality again, but those banners can be incorporated in your warehouse and in your shop. How inspiring would it be just to Margie’s point, Together We Can – the message, the mantra that you have that you’re currently working with your corporation. Why not have it displayed in the shop? It can also be flexible and fluid.
Where creating different awards for employee of the month, employee of the quarter, somebody’s anniversary a special event that you’re thinking about, maybe sports related or something along that line. But these are inexpensive ways to add some excitement, some inspiration, some surprise and delight to your teams as well as ensuring safety protocols.