5 Tips to Boost Creativity at Work

With constant advances in technology and an increasingly globalized market, it’s more important than ever to create innovative ways of doing things. Introducing creativity to the workplace can be difficult given the hectic pace most employees are forced to work at. Many workers believe creativity is a gift you’re born with and are resistant to the practice being forced into their busy office. Creating a more innovative work environment ultimately lies with the employees and employers to foster a culture where new ideas have merit.

Encourage and Support Creativity

The first step in a more creative work environment is to actually encourage the thought process. This goes well beyond simply asking for employee input during a meeting. Without knowing it, your workplace might be squashing potential ideas before they happen. Employees need to feel free to submit their ideas as they have them. Creativity is not a switch that can be turned on and off. Limit private offices and encourage workspace set ups that organize people into central areas. Consider adding anonymous opportunities for workers to provide suggestions for those who might be too shy. Likewise, create incentives for more outgoing workers to showcase their new ideas. When in brainstorming sessions, follow every idea presented through to the end. As a boss, keep yourself approachable and available. As an employee, take advantage of the opportunities given to show your creativity and encourage the practice to continue.

Create an Inspirational Workplace

If your workplace is drab and bleached by fluorescent light, workers are unlikely to have fresh ideas. Walls covered in company paperwork, graphs and statistics will only encourage employees to continue working inside the same box. When creating visuals for a presentation, try to use a type of graph not normally seen. By representing information in a new way, you can change how people view it. Colors also play a key role in how our brains think, affecting productivity and mood. Painting a wall sky blue has been shown to increase productivity. Windows and pictures of nature are also documented as helping boost morale. Even simple office plants can give employees a sense of belonging.

Think About Experimentation, not Failure

Every new idea isn’t an instant success, and the majority of experiments will not be successful. Without recognizing this, you are not opening your workplace to innovation. Workers afraid of failure will continue to act in the same ways that have in the past. Be proud of new ideas in the workspace. Take each idea into a prototype phase and let every department see the experiment in the works. Recognize that innovation takes time and resources; it is not a duty that can be tacked on to an already busy day.

Encourage Diversity

Most people in your workplace will have similar backgrounds, skillsets and daily schedules. What differs are their personal interests, unique cultures, proficiencies and job experience. Naturally, your alike employees will gravitate toward each other, but these groups will only go on to create similar ideas. Friends are likely to agree, and the same department will continue to work in a method they are accustomed to. When creating brainstorming sessions and think tanks, combine employees from different sections, age groups and experience levels. When possible, have meetings overseen by indirect superiors. Inevitably, diversity starts with the hiring process. Whenever available, introduce people from different backgrounds, and new ideas will follow.

Have Fun in the Workplace

Taking time for fun might seem like a step backward for a busy office, but even adults need time to release stress and relax their brains. Giving employees a place to relax, interact and play a game helps them return to work with a clear mind. It also encourages a work culture where employees share ideas with one another. Creativity can’t be forced, but you can give workers the chance to recharge from a meeting and come back fresh. Of course, even tech giants like Google need to set some rules to make the most of their creative free time in the office.

Creativity is not a resource that can instantly and simply be tapped into. It evolves out of the vigilance of those encouraging the practice. A single method from the list above will not suddenly lead to an outbreak of innovation. Finding the balance between work and culture will, however, ensure there are channels for a great idea to surface.

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who focuses on personal finance and other money matters. She currently writes for Checkworks.com, a leading supplier of personal and business checks.