The power of OFFICES
as post-pandemic culture ICUs
The prescription to renew critical connections in the workplace
Culture. It might be thought of as a company's lifeblood. Or put another way, it's an organization's DNA. It's what makes an it unique and defines its “personality" – especially for its employees. But it's more than that. It's a strategic tool – the differentiator that draws in talent, keeps them engaged, drives performance, and keeps everyone moving in the right direction. Together.
Business culture, like most of us, depends on human connection to thrive. And also, like most of us, these days, culture is suffering. Remote working has been a lifeline for companies and their employees alike. But, as we cross the one-year threshold of these isolating circumstances, it's clear that the physical separation and lack of shared, personal interaction is having an unhealthy effect on organizational culture.
The pandemic revealed the viability of working remotely – but it's also shown the limitations. Real-life connection between people within a shared space is critical to team building. Shared experiences are integral to a thriving organization. Virtual interaction just can't provide a potent level of camaraderie and culture development. But will simply trying to return to some degree of “business as usual" be enough? Doubtful. Businesses have to quickly and effectively reverse 12 months of cultural atrophy – and that's going to mean some aggressive therapy.
Company cultures are in need of acute care.
As we prepare to return to our offices, spaces are being rethought on every level. Logically, the health and safety issues are the first priority. But to thrive long term, businesses will need more compelling environments that welcome people back and keep them back by renewing enthusiasm and reestablishing deeper connection with their team and organization.
It's in the best interest of organizations and people alike to encourage some degree of return to shared spaces. But the pre-pandemic idea of “office" needs to evolve. Today's office has a vital three-part purpose for connection, collaboration, and culture – a place where the sense of team grows, collaboration flourishes, and brand is built.
It's not just what happens at desks and meeting rooms. It's the whole space – in the corridors, break rooms, and open spaces – all areas where bonds are strengthened and illusive great ideas come to light. To live up to this expectation, spaces must be transformed to deliver compelling experiences that draw people back and impart the organization's unique qualities.
So what are we talking about here – how can space support these lofty goals? Design, furniture, and finishes can go a long way to create a mood inducive to positive company culture. But the strains of this unprecedented year require stronger remedies. More direct communication tools are needed to reestablish cultural bonds, accelerate progress, and reinforce strategy. Creative communication is key – whether it's explicit language about brand and culture or more understated use of imagery and graphics to instill brand qualities into the space. The good news? Regardless of method, the powerful yet underutilized medium is ever-present to all of us every day.
Taking a dose of our own medicine
To illustrate our point, let's look at how Takeform is investing in culture with experiential graphic installations that invigorate every corner of its headquarters. We're leveraging wall graphics, window films, dimensional elements and even our PPE Stations and partitions to connect with everyone that moves through our space. You may think us biased – and we are – but that's because we've contributed to these strategies working for thousands of clients.
Warning: the following contains highly graphic content
To start, let's talk about our visual brand. We're a design-centric company that takes inspiration from modernist and post-modernist sensibilities, so admittedly, our intensely graphic look is not for everyone. But that's the point. The goal is to create an environment that's as unique as the organization. Healthcare? University? Law firm? Tech firm? The key is committing to an experiential graphics strategy. Once the process begins, the look and messaging will readily emerge.
A space for energy and ideas.
Our brand look is driven by two organizational realities. First, Takeform thrives on the collaborative buzz of a busy day. The graphics system is designed to amplify and encourage that energy. Second, there is a foundational belief in the creative, brand-building potential of each person in the organization, from sales to shipping and everyone in between. The experiential graphics strategy builds a deeper understanding of brand and the reality that every person, every action, has brand-building potential.
Branding beyond office spaces.
Takeform is design/build. Manufacturing is essential to our success. With hundreds of experiential graphics projects for scrutinizing clientele in process at any time, every detail matters. Wall graphics throughout the manufacturing space provide positive encouragement and convey well-deserved appreciation for those that make it happen.
COVID safety doesn't have to look sterile. With direct-print graphics, Takeform's workstation stackers, partitions and PPE stations offer another level of engaging brand experience. Alternatively, to integrate with the aesthetic of a space, the COVID products can be specified with coordinating finishes to fit seamlessly with the design of the space.
Sometimes a smile is the best medicine. Among all Takeform's business-minded graphics, there are plenty of fun moments that punctuate staffers daily experience of the space. Graphic panels deliver understated artistic interpretations of the Takeform brand in gathering spaces. Post-modernist custom wallcovering installations pay homage to the movement that inspires brand philosophies. And there are also a few fun, irreverent installations that make sure we never take ourselves too seriously.
Our exterior presence matters, too. From their first view of our building, visitors from across the country experience the unexpected when they visit our rural Western New York headquarters. And local brand awareness matters, too, especially from a recruiting perspective – which is vitally important to the success of our growing organization. The illuminated dimensional logo and striking exterior window films put Takeform's creative attitude and style on display to all and draws attention of the forward-thinking career seekers we're looking for.
From theory to practice
For an experiential graphics strategy to be effective, it has to succeed on every phase: planning, design, manufacturing, installation, and ongoing support. That might sound complicated… but it doesn't have to be. Takeform is the nation's leading full-service experiential graphics firm with a proven approach and products that simplify the process for the client and guarantees a positive outcome – unconditionally.
For the best outcome, start treatment immediately.
Collaboration and culture are key ingredients for any successful organization. Many have been able to navigate this past virtual year, but the climate is about to change. As more are vaccinated, offices will take on a new role as the place where people connect. As competition accelerates, the need to have compelling spaces will be greater than ever. While the virtual paradigm continues, and offices are underutilized, this is the time to plan and execute an experiential strategy and create a compelling space that will welcome people back and jump start cultural rejuvenation.