When we think about the things that make a workplace tick, creativity might not necessarily be at the top of your list. However, this oft-overlooked element can promote significant innovation and enrichment within an organisation, while also making the atmosphere more inviting and collaborative for employees.
Why promote creativity?
The last few years have revealed that creative thinking in the workplace can be the difference between business survival and obsolescence. Adopting a creative approach is also synonymous with effective entrepreneurship, which generally involves identifying an unsolved problem and creating a brand or business to fill the gap. All in all, fostering creativity leads to an organisation that is better equipped to solve complex problems, has expanded earning potential, and is able to differentiate their product or service offering more effectively from competitors.
How to promote creativity
Don’t underestimate the power of connection
In an era of Zoom meetings and remote working, it’s never been more important to have a team that feels connected and bonded with one another. Take the analogy of the theatre - all elements, from the performers and the technicians to the front-of-house staff, need to be working in concert to facilitate a successful event. A workplace is no different, employees need to be able to work effectively with their own team members and across teams. They also need to feel psychologically safe while doing so. Fostering an environment that stimulates creativity and experimentation is essential for establishing an atmosphere where people feel safe to share and workshop ideas, rather than fear upsetting the status quo.
De-silo your organisation
There can be a tendency with organisations to localise creativity within certain teams e.g. the marketing team. This is a missed opportunity to bring other employees and teams together in pursuit of creative ideas. Regardless of their position, all employees are exposed to sources of inspiration that could lead them to develop ideas for bettering their organisation, and knowing how to unlock this potential is a valuable skill. Ways to encourage this include scheduling regular brainstorming opportunities or leaving sheets of butchers paper and pens and pencils in communal areas for people to note down ideas as they happen.
However, these gestures are only effective if employees know that ‘good ideas’ will be acted on, so make sure to attribute new initiatives or business directions to these methods if they originated the idea.
Encourage diversity, inclusivity and individuality
Our neural networks are naturally inclined to establish links between different concepts, but if the information we feed our brains is limited in its scope, so too will be our ideas and creative output. Bringing in diverse viewpoints and fostering an atmosphere of inclusivity encourages people to express their individuality and exposes us to a wider range of inputs, in turn broadening our capacity for creative thought. Nurturing this kind of atmosphere also shows employees that they are not just members of a ‘pack’, they are appreciated as individuals with unique perspectives to offer.
Nevertheless, people may still feel shy about expressing their thoughts and ideas out in the open. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have anonymous suggestion boxes around the workspace or anonymised online form submissions for sharing thoughts and ideas. For this to be effective though, employees need to know that their suggestions are being read and taken into consideration.
Invest in a workplace that supports creativity
The atmosphere in which you work will have a significant impact on your capacity to concentrate and get into the right headspace for the task at hand. If we look at sound, quiet spaces are more conducive to focused work, while moderate ambient noise levels promote collaboration and creativity. Workplace facilities can also be crucial, with access to amenities such as gyms or outdoor areas often making the workplace feel more dynamic. Or take colour - pastel blue or green shades create a more natural atmosphere that encourages relaxation and concentration, while bold, warmer colours like red or orange stimulate thought and energy, thereby promoting teamwork and creativity. In contrast, the sharp white walls and lights of many office spaces can put a strain on our eyes, particularly if you’re spending most of the day looking at a computer screen. While natural light is always preferable, if white fluorescent lights are your only option, it’s best to vary the intensity in different parts of the office; brighter in collaborative spaces and dimmer in focus zones.
Another way to support creativity in your workplace is to provide flexible working options - some people may find it much easier to do high-focus work from home and prefer for their office to be a collaborative space that makes the most of everyone being together. Proving employees with flexibility around when and how they work will empower them to develop routines and practises that suit them, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of a satisfied and engaged workforce.
Are you looking for a work environment that facilitates creativity and innovation? Enquire about leasing opportunities with Central Park today.