Out with the Cubes!

The classic cubicle is growing out of fashion. Techniques to increase employee interaction are on the rise, and a lot of innovative concepts are being tested. The Wall Street Journal outlined a few interesting examples last week. You can read the article here.

Some noteworthy design concepts:

Google’s new 1.1 million-square-foot complex: Every worker is a 2.5 minute walk from any other worker. Even at a New Yorkers pace I can’t image that!
(Bloomberg’s writeup of the campus)

Zappos’s co-working space in its lobby is open to the public, with the aim to encourage mingling with visitors and employees from other companies as well.
(Business Insider’s writeup)

Businesses are also introducing interactive games to engage their employees: elevator trivia to encourage chatter during a normally awkward ride, or lunch “buttons” to pair you with a buddy with similar interests.

While some of these concepts seem like dot-com office fluff, the implications are exciting. It’s becoming mainstream to develop employee relationships in creative ways.

One of the most effective ways to do this is exercise! If offices are looking for ways to encourage employee bonding, nothing brings people closer than grunting through a workout together. Plus, exercise has been shown to increase creativity (1). And if sweating at work doesn’t fit in at your office, there’s no need for an intense workout. Low intensity movement, such as walking, has been shown to improve energy (2).

So get up from your desk and move with some coworkers! Take a walk or a jog. Schedule weekly workouts, or just designate 10 minutes a day for a short exercise circuit. It might seem odd at first, but the science unanimously supports the cognitive benefits of movement.

Team building exercises are not a new concept, but exercising to build teams is. With companies investing in employee relationships, we’re going to see a lot more of this in the near future.

References:

1: Exercise Enhances Creativity Independently of Mood. (Abstract)

2: A randomized controlled trial of the effect of aerobic exercise training on feelings of energy and fatigue in sedentary young adults with persistent fatigue. (Abstract)