Fast forward 4 months later and a lot has changed about the way we create because of where we create.
Before moving in to our new space, we wanted to broaden our understanding of how physical environments influence our productivity. If big ideas are why brands partner with us, how can we ensure big ideas are birthed and nourished right inside our walls?
1. Are there any absolutes when it comes to creative environments?
2. How do we measure meaningful use — is it by the end product or the observable process?
3. How do we balance fluidity with dedicated space?
4. Can we iterate on our environments like software in a rolling release, agile methodology?
5. When and where have we created our best work? Can we replicate those conditions?
Trying to answer these questions led us to articulate the various categories of work that occur in or out of the office. The reality is that most of us accomplish our best thinking and doing in a mix of 3 common environments.
Noise pollution is a big distraction in an open layout workplace. As a team grows, keeping a focused environment only gets more complicated with every person and personality that joins the ranks. This got us thinking about those late night study sessions in school libraries — they either served as the best naps of our lives or some of the most productive times of execution. Quiet focus is powerful. Not every project or task is collaborative. Our teams need an environment to get work done without the worry of a cross-room conversation killing their concentration.
Taking this concept of quiet focus even further, we realized that many of our creators need even more isolation to achieve their best results. For engineers and video editors, it's not just about silence, it's about long stretches of completely uninterrupted work. No noise pollution, no people walking around, no changes in scenery, just straight up wired-in time. We asked ourselves if this was even possible and how we could replicate this category of work in our new space.
As potent as privacy can be for your work day, we also recognized the distinct need for human interaction in the formula for innovation. Coffee shops offer a lot more to creative types than just delicious caffeination. It's about planting yourself in a communal environment where you have the option to be assertive or passive. Work for an hour at a time and then break for ten minutes to chat or sip. Collaborate on a project at the group table or put your headphones in to write. This oscillation between social and solo is a crucial switch-up to grow past your creative muscle memory.
Once we had articulated our most productive working experiences, it was time to integrate them into our new HQ. Between a mixture of private breakout rooms, a shared cafe area and comfortable, quiet living room settings both downstairs and upstairs, our experiment was in full effect. Not only did we think about the space but the actual furniture as well. Soft or firm, fabric or leather, vibrant or muted, high or low — these were some of the nuanced decisions that actually mattered if creativity was contextual to an environment. After weeks of curating, we finally had a furnished and functional new office space.
The improvement was immediate.
In parallel, we also focused on increasing mobility without sacrificing functionality. This led us to purchasing new high-powered Macbook Pros — lighter, faster and more versatile than our previous iMac setups. With portable work stations and multiple environments to choose from, we saw a massive increase in all the right kinds of habits.
This shift in thinking, doing, and measuring environment-centric creativity has been a game-changer. Collaboration happens much more naturally and efficiently with the ability to relocate your proverbial work bench into another more conducive environment. Where people have been tethered to desktop machines in the past, they are now able to literally move at the speed of innovation.
Our space and our process isn't yet perfect but these strategic adjustments have set us on the right path toward better end results. When we first set out on this exploration, we believed that designing intentional, varied environments under one roof could dramatically improve the way we approach creative. We were right.