The importance of creativity can hardly be exaggerated, as it drives business success and inspires employees to see themselves as part of a bigger picture. Simply put, a creative workspace is quite similar to the startup mindset where everyone shares in success and failure, no finger-pointing.
Creativity can be observed in two ways. Some people were born creative, while others have different mindsets. However, business creativity can be inspired and fostered by creating the right atmosphere. In that sense, creativity is closely linked to innovation, as without the first there is no latter.
Similarly to productivity, creativity can be boosted by external factors, some of which are linked to office design. Let’s see how to efficiently boost creativity by applying easily available approaches.
Inspiring Office Design
The easiest way to get started is by creating a workspace that inspires people to perform better. A perfect office layout may be a matter of debate seeing as tastes differ, but there are still some general rules on how to enhance the environment for everyone.
First off, add some office greenery. Studies show that plants not only inspire people, but also have additional benefits, including: cleaning the air, reducing noise levels, reducing stress, reducing absence rates and increasing productivity.
On top of making the workspace more pleasant to the eye, plants also make people feel better. If you don’t believe it, try working in a basement for a while.
To top it off, adding some plants to your office shouldn’t prove either expensive or difficult. However, mind your choice of greenery. You should choose the varieties that can grow and flourish in the workspace, and if certain scents inspire you and give you energy, or can create too much of a distraction.
Lastly, keep the workspace clean, but not necessarily tidy as well. Some people thrive in “creative chaos,” which is fine and all, but keeping the office clean is an absolute must. There is nothing more uninspiring than getting up at 6 AM only to get to an unkempt office.
Encourage the employees to make their workspace more personal so that they will feel more relaxed there. Admittedly, what makes each person happy is rather individual, so leave it to the employees. Pretty much anything that holds an emotional value will do the trick.
For example, many people put a picture of their family or pets on their desk, stating it inspires them and offers encouragement in challenging times.
Randomized offices are not only uninspiring but also unpleasant, so make certain to encourage personalization all the time.
Make Your Workspace Intuitive
Lastly, be sure to make your workspace intuitive. What that means is that it should be user-friendly, as to prevent interruptions. I.e., the employees should have all the necessities handy so that they don’t have to leave the office in order to perform a minor task or, i.e., get refreshments. Putting a coffee maker in the office shouldn’t be too difficult, right?
As for the interruptions mentioned above, suffice it to say that researchers from the University of California, Irvine, have discovered that workers are interrupted every 11 minutes on average, and manage to resume their tasks successfully only after 25 minutes.
Finally, think of everyday tasks. Are there enough telephones/printers/other gadgets in the office? Is the atmosphere quiet enough for calls to be made? This is particularly important for positions where communication is crucial.
Allow Flexible Schedules
Creativity thrives where freedom is involved. Try comparing traditional 9-to-5 workers to happy freelancers and you’ll see what we mean. While not all positions allow for too flexible schedules, some adjustments can always be made.
A simple change of scenery can do wonders in terms of boosting creativity. Allow the employees who work on their laptops exclusively to change the environment. Working from home/a park/café can provide them with much-needed freedom and help them relax and get more creative.
Whenever possible, strive to expand your work policy to include remote work. Not only will it boost employee creativity, but it will also cut the costs considerably.
Encourage Regular Breaks
Sadly, burnouts are a common practice nowadays. Working people often report poor task management and unrealistic deadlines. These two factors are certain to kill creativity before it even gets the chance to show its face, so avoid them at all costs.
Instead of pushing people to work harder in impossible conditions, encourage them to prioritize their tasks and take regular breaks (and irregular, when necessary). Think about the Japanese business culture. Nap rooms are a normal occurrence in Japanese companies and for a good reason.
Inspire Knowledge Sharing
Knowledge sharing is another notable development of the startup mindset. While traditional businesses tend to stick to the old-school approach where managers decide everything, creative workspaces do the exact opposite.
One of the most important factors for inspiring creativity is providing a means for employees to share their ideas. This will also strengthen the feeling of joint success and help people who normally stick to themselves to open up to the extent that makes them comfortable.
Note that we’re not saying that introverts should be dragged to social events. Rather, they should be encouraged to participate in idea sharing in a way that makes them comfortable.
Virtual meetings are also an option, In fact, the practice is a regular occurrence for remote workers, who normally report feeling more relaxed when meeting coworkers on their own terms (from their home with a cup of coffee, for example).
And when it comes to actual learning, use creativity here as well. There are plenty of new learning methods that companies are embracing these days, such as storytelling. If your workspace is going to be inspiring, bring this mindset over into your learning techniques for added benefits.
As you can see, there are ways and ways to inspire and boost creativity, many of which are not challenging at all. Start by doing what you can immediately. Buy a plant or two. Ask the employees what kinds of team building activities they would like to attend. Offer flexible schedules. Encourage remote work. Help people stay connected.
There are so many ways to get things going. Personalize your approach and listen to employees’ feedback. Soon enough, you’ll notice a drastic change in terms of creativity. After all, employees who enjoy their jobs are those who drive success in the long run.