Playground Office

There is a trend in designing the office as a playground. This may seem childish at first, but if you give it a second thought maybe it’s not. Isn’t it from a past era to design the workspace determined by functional criteria and technical specifications only? Clean projectinteriors, preferably photographed without people, we all know them. Do these abstract workspaces, which in the end all look alike, still meet the needs of today? And is it true that efficient design leads to better performance; how do you get the best out of people anyway?
During Worldcup 2014 the Dutch soccercoach Van Gaal became very popular by his “total human principle” by which he meant that players were not soccer-machines, but human beings who would benefit from spending time to relax with their loved ones in between matches. He believed that: “happy players are better players”. Brazilian enterpreneur Ricardo Semler has a similar vision on getting the best results. Hammocks are hanging in his factory and his workers are free to take a nap when they feel like it. His leadership is based on trust instead of control. As a result, his people are more committed to the job and revenues have increased.
The Playground Office offers us a range of opportunities to relax and break away from the routine. Why is this so important? How do we benefit from it? Leading innovative companies seem to realise that to relax is part of the job. Physical experiences keep us connected to our bodies, to our feelings; to our being human. Playful interventions like the slide, the merry-go-round or the treehouse, taking a bike to the other end of the office or playing dj, keep our imagination alive and invite us to relax and interact. These are supposed to be crucial conditions to stimulate creativity; when we relax and reflect, we get the best ideas. If we share them they become even better (Examples shown: Google office, The Yellow Building London, Facebook office).

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