We all want our employees to be creative and productive, but businesses need to provide a conducive work environment in order to enable this spark. Here are a few tactics:
Change up your workspace design
The way your workspace is designed can directly affect your team’s productivity. A lot of problem solving and idea creation comes from being collaborative, so design your office to maximize interaction. Instead of isolating your great minds at work, bring them together and reap the value of collective thought. Many designers agree that creating unique work spaces can promote collaboration, creativity, and productivity in the modern office.
It’s important to make sure people are connecting and brainstorming with each other. As Miguel McKelvey, cofounder and chief creative officer of coworking office space WeWork says, “I think of [productivity] as effectively creating ideas and solving problems and a lot of that has to do with being collaborative.”
Some ideas for redesigning your current work space include:
- Creating paths for chance meetings, such as at stairways, outside conference rooms, or around the foosball table in the cafe. Chance encounters create conversations that lead to solutions.
- Including nooks or booths for private conversations to continue naturally near the common areas. This eliminates the need to schedule a conference room later to continue the brainstorming session.
- Creating an AGILE work space. Give employees the option of working from a desk, moving on to a quieter place to focus, or moving to a social hub where they can connect with co-workers. This increases movement, and creates an agile environment where people have choices and more control.
- Provide adjustable desks and conference tables. We all know that sitting too much is harmful to our health. Being able to adjust a work space is not only healthier, but can help employees feel more alert and comfortable throughout the day.
Break the routine
Build in time for employees to break away from tasks requiring concentration. Encourage them to take a walk or a run, look out a window, do yoga or meditate, play a game with a coworker, or do some other form of relaxation before getting back to work. They will feel refreshed and unstuck, and who knows, maybe they’ll have come up with a solution to that nagging problem they left at their desk.
If you want your employees to think out of the box, you need to motivate them with some type of reward. Set goals for employees to come up with ways of making the workplace more efficient or fun. Be ready to listen, and take all suggestions seriously. Show that creativity is highly valued. Why not provide an anonymous suggestion box and see what ideas come forth? Have the rest of the team vote on which suggestions to implement. Working together to improve conditions can strengthen the group’s bond.
Mount a vision board in a communal space
Feature the vision board in an accessible location — for example, a lobby or conference room. Post a challenge, such as, “How can we better serve our customers?” Leave markers to record ideas.
Provide a positive working environment
Stress and too serious of a mindset can hinder creativity. Having fun at work and being in a positive moods allows one to be in a relaxed state, and that is where one tends to get inspiration for new ideas. Incorporate fun into the workplace via team-bonding activities: go bowling together, take a group picnic at lunch, celebrate a co-workers birthday, enjoy bagels and coffee on Fridays, hold an inter-departmental “hackathon” to help solve a company problem. The possibilities for creating positivity are endless.
How are you feeding the creative spark at your workplace?