When we talk about the need for creativity in the workplace, most people picture jobs like painting, writing, or acting. But the truth is that every field demands creativity. While the artist needs it to perfect a painting, the accountant draws on their creativity to find a solution to a financial dilemma. Learning how to encourage creativity at work can pay off for both employees and employers.
The Oxford Dictionary defines creativity as “the use of the imagination or original ideas.” We often use it to describe the talents of a painter or sculptor, but every business requires innovation to thrive. It’s a fast-paced world. Coming up with the next big idea first can mean the difference between success and failure.
The value is overwhelming. Yet, many companies are falling short of knowing how to encourage creativity at work.
The environment someone works in has a huge impact on their creativity. Unfortunately, in many spaces, that impact is negative. In fact, one 2017 study by Microsoft found that 41% of workers in UK offices blamed lack of creativity on uninspiring workplaces.
It’s not a surprising statistic when one considers most modern workplaces. Colorless conference rooms, lack of privacy, and artificial lighting are all unfortunately common. Offices are too often bland and boring. There is often a lack of imagination when it comes to the decor. While most companies strive for a professional look, they stop short of creating a space that is welcoming and pleasant.
Offices often do little for employee comfort, much less inspire creativity. If an employee is not at ease, then it is only a matter of time before they stop working at their full potential. Basically, they become machines who only want to get the job finished as soon as possible. It is therefore essential that a work environment inspires and energizes.
The Solution: How to Encourage Creativity at Work
The space one works in is extremely impactful. So how can you optimize it to encourage creative thinking in employees – and therefore success in your business? We’ve collected some strategies to help you get started.
In its most basic form, space planning is just making sure your space is being used efficiently. Your workstations are near outlets. The route to the restroom doesn’t take you through a private conference space. Your furniture isn’t blocking any fire exits. A lot of this is common sense, but still important to consider.
However, thoughtful space planning can also promote collaboration and creative thinking. Most offices are divided into two types of work areas. Individual desk stations, for solo work, and conference rooms, for formal meetings. True collaboration requires more flexibility.
Opening New Paths
Proper space planning can allow for new ways to interact. Communal areas such as break rooms or casual lounges allow for a quick recharge, and natural interactions with coworkers. Conversations occur spontaneously. Plus, a variety of departments come together for interactions that would otherwise not occur. Communal areas encourage a free exchange of ideas with a greater diversity of people.
Other more flexible areas should allow easy transitions from individual work to pair or group work. Consider private “huddle” rooms for spontaneous small group meetings. Telecommunications rooms allow easy collaboration with off-site employees or business partners. These options promote teamwork and sharing of ideas, preventing individuals from getting into a rut. Instead, they naturally expand their creativity with a free exchange of different opinions.
Color & Graphics
If you’re familiar with color theory, you might know certain colors encourage certain moods. Blues are calming and are even known to lower blood pressure. Yellows increase energy, and red can make you more irritable. Defaulting to standard office white is a wasted opportunity. And you should consider going beyond a more colorful paint choice.
According to environmental psychologist Sally Augustin, Ph.D., “research has shown that when we’re awed, we’re more likely to process information efficiently and effectively, think more creatively, feel less impatient, have an open mind and behave in a more public-spirited way.” There are many ways to awe and inspire through interior design choices. Peerhatch writable wallpaper, wall coverings, and graphics are larger-than-life pieces of art that can both brand and create a memorable impression. Unique art or furniture choices are an opportunity to give your space personality. Decorative glass film can add color or patterns to plain glass.
Innovators thrive on the energy in their environments. And there’s not much energy in a gray room with a line of desks. So, liven it up! Color and graphics are a great way to create an appealing space that energizes those within it.
Innovation and creative thinking are too often associated with the lone genius. What do I mean by that? You probably have the image of the artist or inventor struck with inspiration like a bolt of lightning. Bam! Earth-shattering idea. Most great ideas don’t come about like that. Rather, creative thinking is a process. It’s brainstorming, and problem-solving. Discarding bad ideas and strengthening good ones. And it happens best collaboratively.
No one’s perfect, and everyone’s perspective has limitations. A group of people allows for a variety of experiences and skill sets working together to find the best solution. This is why encouraging creative thinking needs to go hand in hand with encouraging collaboration.
Provide employees with the spaces and tools they need to work collaboratively. Writable walls are an important part of this, giving employees the space to brainstorm and work through ideas together. Whiteboards are limited in space, clunky, and notorious for staining. So, designers have been turning to other solutions for writable surfaces. One option is peerhatch, the dry erase wall covering. Each wall covering is custom cut to fit any size wall and is guaranteed non-ghosting. Furthermore, it’s completely customizable – allowing you to incorporate inspiring graphics and colors.
Lasting Importance of Knowing How to Encourage Creativity at Work
Creative thinking is vital to the success of every business. Creating a workspace that inspires and energizes has far-reaching benefits to your employees – and your profit margin. Get started with our tips to optimize your office!