As people continue to return to their offices this year, we thought it would be helpful to share ways to create a happy and productive office environment. Over the years, we’ve adopted practices we feel keep things running smoothly, which ultimately leads to a happy and more creative team.

Here are some of our favorite tips:

#1 Active listening

Authentic, active listening is where we live – hearing not only what each other and our clients say to us, but trying to truly understand subtext, and being empathic with our clients and each other. Thoughtful, clear communication is our top priority at all times.

#2 Practice “yes, and…”

One of the basic rules of improv comedy is “Yes, and…”  It’s an approach that allows anything to happen and opens up possibilities. It works like this: No matter what your ‘scene partner’ gives you, instead of being afraid of it (negating it, controlling it, or disagreeing with it), your job is to say “Yes, and…” Accept what is presented to you and build on it. When you approach interactions that way, great things happen.

When you say YES (instead of starting with a ‘no’ to protect yourself or your idea), then add AND to it, you have created a powerful opportunity for collaboration.

#3 Staying positively dissatisfied

We have systems, workflows, and many tried and true ways to create the work we do. But even when we’re happy, we’re looking for better ways to accomplish our goals. We strive to learn lessons from the little things, keep experimenting, refining, and always improving our processes.

#4 Cut out wasted meeting time

Our designers want to design. Our editor wants to edit. We’d rather write copy than be in endless meetings.  So, we have found that stand-up meetings work great. Brief discussions in doorways are much faster than sitting down across our conference table. We look for and take the first ending to a meeting, we don’t spend valuable time restating what others have said. We always ask the question, “Can this be better handled by a five-minute conversation instead of a meeting?” And when a meeting is needed, we try scheduling a shorter than normal (maybe 20 minutes) meeting…Try it, it works!

#5 Learn every day

There’s a lot of information out there that we love to explore. There’s also a lot of information right here in our office — every single person at Gravity is brilliant and amazing at something. Each one of us has a wealth of experience to share with the team, so we do!

#6 Respect our house

Keeping our space clean and inviting is a big deal to us. We respect our space and enjoy sharing it with others. We keep it neat and we are always ready to welcome visitors with freshly made local coffee and treats from one of our local bakeries. A well-maintained, friendly space feeds our creativity. We also care about any waste we produce. We have a composting program to turn our trash into soil, we repurpose scrap paper as notepads, we use only green products to clean our space, and we recently replaced our Keurig coffee maker with a less-wasteful alternative.

#7 Give each other great service

We treat each other like we treat our clients. We work to anticipate each other’s needs, help each other whenever possible, and we strive to be proactive with suggestions and feedback when we see a possible stumbling block ahead.

#8 Go for great!

We haven’t done our greatest work yet. We’ve won many awards over the years and we’re proud of them, but every day we strive to be great and make something special for our clients. We don’t worry about who gets the credit – we help each other succeed.

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