How can creativity be encouraged in the modern workplace?

A recent survey of 1000 office workers found that the average time UK employees are most creative is at 11:05 a.m.  The research by R&D Tax Credit adviser MPA Group looked into the time of day that employees (from many professions) feel most creative, and which working environments best help to stimulate their creativity.

Another survey, by property services business Extentia Group, found that 53% of indoor workers said they were most productive first thing in the morning, while 12% said they were most productive in the evening. 

Both studies state that companies are not doing enough to encourage employees to be creative. If they were, it would increase employee well-being and productivity—as well as improving the company’s bottom line.

 

So, what can facilities managers do to help foster creativity in the workplace?

 

Breakfast facilities

It is a common fact that a nutritious and varied breakfast can fuel you throughout the whole day. For example, tech giant Google famously provides breakfast facilities for its workers.  Additionally, there are coffee and juice bars scattered throughout their campuses. The reasoning being, that if there is the incentive of food, employees are more likely to come into work earlier— thus being able to capitalize on their ‘golden time' of peak creativity. And it is also an opportunity to build social bonds by being able to interact with colleagues, thereby contributing to an overall feeling of well-being at the workplace.

 

A quiet office 

A quiet office was the most popular choice in the MPA survey, with 43% of workers claiming that a quiet working environment can help them to formulate their most innovative ideas. Nowadays this can be facilitated with what are more flexible working spaces, with varied levels of privacy (including quiet zones). And these type of office set ups are fast replacing the traditional fixed desks and cellular office models— with the strategic aim of enhancing social interaction and collaboration between employees and clients alike.

But working in the midst of an open office plan can be a huge distraction for some workers, and 28% of the survey respondents said that quite areas can help increase their creativity. Therefore, providing employees with the option to be able move to separate and more secluded working spaces can be a great option. And having the choice between different work areas to collaborate and/or to be able to work alone can jointly contribute to the creativity and productivity in the workplace.

 

Natural light

In the Extentia survey, 61% of workers asked for more natural light to help them feel more inspired and creative at work.

Natural light has many benefits— and research has shown that workers who work in an office with lots of natural light tend to get more sleep and are thereby more productive. What is more, workers in offices with natural elements (i.e. plants, exposed wood furnishings, etc., including natural light) were found to be 15% more creative then those without these elements.

 

Vividly coloured walls

The use of colour in the workplace affects the moods of workers, and thus can stimulate creativity. For instance, experts say yellow is a colour that represents creativity, friendliness, optimism, and confidence— and it can be used in areas where a company wishes to stimulate positivity, creativity and happiness. On the other hand, green is good colour to utilize in offices that require people to work long hours— as it is a good colour to use anytime instilling a sense of balance is of top priority. Other colours such as red, can help enhance energy, courage and excitement if those qualities are required for specific job tasks (e.g. sales).

 

Homely design features

Traditional offices have focused on formal, post-modern and cold design elements— when it comes to interior décor. But the kind of environment that is created from this type of design is not conducive to stimulating workers creativity.

As a solution, meeting rooms and quiet areas can be made to be more comfortable and cosy so that workers are able to feel more relaxed, thereby allowing for creative inspirations. Items like fabric armchairs and sofas, and fluffy rugs can help with this effect. For example, the online retail company Etsy’s designs their meeting rooms to include vintage, mismatched furniture, bright walls and plush upholstery to evoke a homely environment that encourages workers to feel more relaxed and thus to be more creative, enabling the staff to more easily share their creative ideas.

If you want to learn more about creating the ultimate workplace experience, click here.