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How High Ceilings Lead to a Creative Culture

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There is a certain type of office culture which is associated with startups today and sometimes it can seem like it’s a competition to have the most lax office with the most personal freedom. Small companies use office design as a means to reinforce culture and inspire creativity. Plants, ping pong tables and pets have all become commonplace. But research has suggested a key to a creative office could be far more straightforward. In fact the answer lies in the height of the ceilings.

A study by a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management found that the height of a ceiling has a major effect on how people think and act in a room. High ceilings are associated with thinking more freely and abstractly, and will encourage collaboration amongst workers. Low ceilings on the other hand tend to make people have more detailed, specific thoughts and can cause feelings of being crowded, hence deterring teamwork.

This phenomenon boils down to subconscious feelings of either freedom or confinement, and therefore the consequences of ceiling could be helpful or a hindrance depending on the task at hand. During the study participants were set tasks in two different study rooms – one with an 8 feet ceiling, the other with a 10 feet ceiling. Of course the higher ceiling put test participants in a mindset of freedom, creativity, and abstraction wherein the lower ceilings led to more confined thinking.

So when looking for the perfect office space take the ceiling height into account! The associated psychological sense of freedom will keep creative ideas flowing.


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1 Comment

  1. May 30, 2016 at 10:56 pm — Reply

    Good post. I’m dealing with many of these issues as well..

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