How to make your boring office awesome

How to make your boring office awesome

Tampa, Florida -- If you want to transform where you work from a boring cubicle farm into one of the coolest, happiest places in town, we're going to show you how.

Only on 10, we're taking you behind the scenes of the winners of the competition for the Coolest Office Spaces in Tampa Bay, named by the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

We got their best ideas on how to make your office as exciting as theirs, and do it for little or no money.

Anybody could take some of these ideas to their boss and get these changes going.

The companies I talked to on both sides of the bay told me making these moves to get cooler have meant happier people, who are better at their jobs.

At DPR Construction in Tampa, an employee vote picked a theme -- pirates -- and they went intentionally, umm, "overboard" with it.

Ships and sails are everywhere, including a boat-shaped wine bar and conference room names like "Swashbuckler." They say it's good for morale and stands out when they're trying to hire the best people.

They've also moved the bosses out of offices and into workstations with everybody else.

Anybody can now use those offices for privacy, and the managers end up much more plugged-in to what's going on.

They also opened their breakroom up in the middle of everything, creating a new conversation space.

"Feels like your kitchen at home. A gathering place for folks to come to the counter, roll out a set of plans, go through the strategy of a project," DPR's Page McKee told me.

"The young guys come over, and I think they learn a lot from it."

At ValPak in St. Petersburg, they told me one of the best moves they've ever made is something any office could add for about a hundred bucks.

Along what are normally big, blank walls are colorful and catchy (but pretty inexpensive) vinyl graphics.

They graphics match the colored theming that's different in each department at ValPak.

The company calls each department a "neighborhood" to match the neighbor-to-neighbor mentality of their discount coupon business.

They've broken the breakroom mold, rearranging desks to make kitchen areas that encourage meetings and conversations.

They also help cover the costs of healthy snacks in the vending area. So, a candy bar may cost an employee a dollar, but an apple would be just 25 cents.

The bosses here are also now out of their offices and into the mix with their teams.

Those old offices are now quiet places where no phones are allowed, meeting spots, or game rooms.

"It opens up the conversation. And people are learning about other things going on in the company," ValPak's David Fox told me. He's their head of operations and he oversaw their office transformation.

"They're finding opportunities to learn new things about the company and create new ideas."

So how do you make this happen where you work?

Print out this article, and bring it in. Show your boss these companies are making changes -- and making more money because of it.

Once they're interested, tell them to check out the Tampa Bay Business Journal, where even more ideas will be published today.


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