If there’s a symbol of today’s economy, working spaces that are slick, open concept, fully wired, and shared, might be it. According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 15.8 million people freelance in the United States. That’s more than 10% of the full-time workforce. And outside of makeshift dining room offices and coffee shops, they need a place to get the job done.

Enter fresh companies like WeWork. Founded in 2010, WeWork now runs 56 shared offices from Austin to Amsterdam aimed not only at creative output, but also amping up productivity. Considering that their customers actually pay to work in their spaces, WeWork and companies like them must be doing something right.


So it’s time to take care of business with these design tips and tricks to help boost productivity. Here are ways WeWork (and even Google and many other Fortune 500 firms!) optimize their offices for getting the job done, whether they are stocked with freelancers or full-fledged employees.


1. Create Good Conference Vibes


“Happiness, the feeling of positivity, really is the foundation of productivity,” says WeWork co-founder and CEO Miguel McKelvey. WeWork’s theory is that if you come into the office with a frown on your face, your likelihood of dominating the day is going to be low. To keep everyone whistling while they work, the company posts a lot of colorful, creative, inspiring quotes in their spaces. But before you start imagining the “Hang in There!” kitty, think more like “Don’t Quit Your Daydream” screened in a fun font over canvas.


Googlers can video conference with other Google offices around the world. To keep it interesting and inspiring for employees, they turned three of their key conference rooms into special themed work areas featuring a subway-themed, Broadway-themed, and apartment-themed rooms. In addition, Google New York created a ‘library’ work area, complete with books donated by employees.


2. Let in the light


There have been countless studies about the effect of sunshine (or the lack of it) on workers. From concerns over dark spaces causing a lack of vitamin D to unnatural light screwing up our circadian rhythms, it’s pretty clear that cube dwellers need the sun, just like everyone else. Have daylight streaming in from multiple directions. In order to maximize the amount of natural light that streams through your space, make interior walls out of glass. If that’s not possible, strategically plan where to place solid walls, so as not to block people’s access to daylight.


Smart lighting systems like Osram Lightify or the Philips Hue system are two new ways to fend off the blues. Not only do both of these smart light setups offer web-connected timers and a range of soft to bright light, but they also have light strips which are great for indirect lighting.


3. Create a literal air of accountability


When the walls come down in an office, they get filled with a literal air of accountability. “Just the fact that everyone can see each other, now they become accountable,” says McKelvey. And even in a space where people are working for themselves, the concept translates. It’s like the idea of studying at the library in college, being surrounded by hard-working people will likely make you work harder too. But sometimes it’s hard to resist the lures of productivity-killers like social media, so with no more looking over your shoulder for your to ‘pop-in’, you’ll be free for a lot more head-down working.


4. The element of surprise


One way Facebook tries to stimulate creativity for its clients is by adding some unexpected flourishes to its offices. For instance, the company often decorates its spaces with art projects or limited edition installations from local artisans. “Many of our buildings have large format murals that are of varying subject matter, and we’ve found that those are the sort of things that make people stop, digest, and absorb,” says Debbie Frost, Director of Public Affairs. Since most tech and new startup spaces are in urban environments, companies have found its customers and workforce tend to favor popular street art or graffiti.


Instantly inject some color into your workspace is by utilizing a subscription-based art service that sends framed works to your home or office for a fee, typically starting at $50 per month. With a selection of thousands of artists and tasteful curation, the services will ship works to your door, and includes free service whenever you want to swap it out for a new piece.