What Does Your Workplace Say About Your IT Department?

Does your IT office make people want to come to work?
Does your IT office make people want to come to work?
Image Credit: Jesús Corrius

One of the most challenging jobs that the person in the CIO position has to deal with is trying to recruit the best workers. In addition to the importance of information technology, there are a number of different things that can cause a young person just out of college to decide to either join your IT department or not, but one of the most obvious is what they think of your work environment. In the past, CIOs have added a number of “cool” things to the office such as pool tables or even craft beer dispensers. However, now the challenge for the person with the CIO job is to find a way to make sure that the outside world knows how cool their office is.

It’s All About Image

So what’s going on here? More and more IT departments are starting to design their offices with playful art that visitors and employees can take photographs of and post on social media. This is especially true for IT departments that are part of image conscious digital brands. The reason that they are going to the effort of doing this is because they want to make their office look “cool” to younger job seekers while they try to liven up their internal image and at the same time use the upbeat designs to create creativity and enthusiasm among their employees.

The goal of an IT workplace that captures people’s imagination is to get them to start talking about the company. We want people to talk about the company but at the same time we’d like them to start to talk about what the company is like internally. The goal is to get the word out about the company’s culture and what the company is all about. CIOs are willing to go the effort to spruce up their offices because they believe that this kind of office space will allow their employees to perform their best work. The hope is that they will feel inspired, comfortable, and perhaps even creative. This kind of environment can lead to collaboration and innovation with the end result being improved performance for the business.

One of the realities of the world in which we are all living right now is that nothing is private any more. Just about everyone knows everyone else. The new office designs are there to allow workers to be excited and to share what they are doing. The goal is to let everyone show other people all of the cool stuff that is in their office. CIOs may not be doing this specifically to attempt to attract and recruit younger workers; however, it turns out that just by seeing the way that an IT office is designed can cause people to want to work for the company.

Are You Ready For A Picture?

So how can a CIO go about creating a workplace that people will want to share with others? One of the first steps is to spend some time thinking about what would be “shareable” by its employees when designing an IT office. What many CIOs have discovered is that neon signs seem to be the most popular for becoming social media posts. The big question that CIOs would like to be able to answer is does all of this workplace decoration do anything for increasing business output? The answer is nobody knows. What they do know is that IT workers seem to respond to IT offices that have art and enhanced designs and they often come to view it as being an essential part of their work experience.

One of the motivations for CIOs to go to the effort to design creative offices for their staff is because they want their workers to start to come into the office instead of telecommuting. If the office experience can be made to be exciting and fun, then the thinking is that there will be more workers in the office. What CIOs need to realize is that adding another conference room might make meetings easier to hold, but its not going to make anyone want to come into the office more often!


When art is installed in an IT office, the CIO has to understand how it will be used. More often than not, when you have attractive art on your walls, you’ll discover that your employees and visitors are drawn to it and like to take photos in front of it for sharing. The more art that an IT office has, the more it will get placed online. The net result of this it that new hires will start to take the time to look through Instagram and Google Images to learn more about your company’s character before accepting any job offer.

CIOs need to view well decorated IT workplaces as being a big assistance in holding on to the talent that they already have and keeping their workers excited about coming in to work. If you can create a portion of the office that is set up for use by people who like to use Instagram, then you’ll get more people coming to your office. The key is that if you want to attract younger workers, then you need to understand that having a well designed office is what is going to attract them.

What All Of This Means For You

CIOs that are faced with the challenge of trying to attract and retain younger workers have already tried doing all of the easy things such as putting a pool table in the office. Now they need to move to the next level. What needs to be done is the IT workplace needs to be transformed to make it Instagramable.

CIOs are trying to create IT offices that have fun and playful art on the walls in order to create a “cool” working environment. This type of environment can go a long way in attracting younger workers. The goal of an IT workplace that captures people’s imagination is to get them to start talking about the company. The goal is to allow workers to share their workplace with people outside of the company. Big neon signs seem to be very popular with workers. CIOs hope that an attractive workplace will bring more workers into the office and cut down on telecommuting. The more art that an office has, the more that art will be shown online and this will attract the attention of younger workers as they try to determine where they would like to work.

Both getting new workers and holding on to the ones that you have can be a big challenge for CIOs. It turns out that doing something as simple as redesigning the office and putting attractive art on the walls that people would like to share can accomplish both of these goals. CIOs need to understand that if they are willing to make the investment into creating a workplace that is attractive, they’ll be able to get more workers to come to it and produce high quality work.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I think that we can all agree that one of the most important parts of the CIO job is the ability to take in and process a large amount of information in order to understand the importance of information technology. It is our responsibility to determine what is important and what we can ignore. However, it turns out that the person in the CIO position also has to have the ability to detect B.S. when it shows up. In our digital age false information in the form of nonsense, rubbish, and fake news can show up at any time, we’ve got to be able to detect it. How good are you at doing this?

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