How do you create a creative environment?
Our environment can have a huge impact on how we feel, interact and work. So, when it comes to promoting a creative atmosphere where employees can develop new ideas and find innovative solutions, having the right office space is key.
By making a few strategic changes, employers can maximise their workers’ creativity throughout the day. But this isn’t the only benefit; having a more ‘creative’ space can do wonders for employees’ mood, mental wellbeing and job satisfaction.
How do I make my workspace more creative?
When designing the perfect workspace, you’ll need to think about layout, lighting, colours and even noise levels. With this in mind, we’ve pulled together 10 different ways to build a creative work environment:
1. Add interesting paraphernalia
This is probably the first thing that springs to mind when you think about ‘creative’ workspaces. Traditionally, offices have been designed with functionality in mind, resulting in characterless rooms with white walls and rows of identical desks. But times are changing. As employees demand more from their workspaces and employers recognise the benefits of stimulating interior décor, office designs are becoming far more interesting.
You can make sure your office promotes creativity by introducing unusual, eclectic and thought-provoking objects into the space. Why not put up art prints, motivational quotes or photographs of awe-inspiring vistas? By giving workers something out of the ordinary to look at, you can trigger fresh ideas and outside-the-box thinking.
You could even try moving more towards homely interior design, as opposed to a workplace aesthetic. Invest in some soft furnishings like curtains and carpets and look into buying desks made for the home rather than standard office ones. Also, research has shown that an untidy workstation can boost creativity. So, as impractical as it may seem, get rid of that “clean desk” policy and allow employees to make some mess!
2. Design a moveable layout
If you want to generate original ideas and banish the predictable and banal, it’s good to change up the office from time to time. One way to do this is to alter the layout. Although this might sound like a time-consuming task, there are ways to make the process simple.
For example, consider buying furniture with castors, so you can easily wheel it to your desired location and lock it into place. Meanwhile, swapping nails for picture hanging strips will help you move artwork from one spot to another whenever you want to. Also, consider buying rugs instead of carpets, and lamps in the place of pendant lights.
3. Leave room for people to keep unfinished projects out
When we have a mental block, it can sometimes help to take a step back and work on something else for a while. But putting projects away in a desk drawer or other hidden space isn’t always the most effective way to solve the problems you come across. Many people find it helpful to leave their work within sight, so they can continue mulling it over while they work on other projects.
This step can be achieved simply by upgrading to larger desks or eliminating that “clean desk” policy. If this isn’t possible, you could install large shelving units on the walls to display or store work-in-progress pieces.
4. Encourage collaboration and communication
Talking things through often helps with the development of complex ideas and concepts. By creating space for people to chat in a relaxed atmosphere, you’re more likely to end up with better products and solutions. If workers can easily collaborate – or just informally discuss their thoughts on the task they’re doing – they’ll benefit from others’ input and the chance to improve their work. Sometimes, all it takes is an outsiders’ insight for a project to truly take off.
Creating a relaxation zone with sofas and refreshment facilities is the perfect way to encourage collaboration. Alternatively, prompt conversation by encouraging employees to bring in family photos and personal items, and share news or updates of their home life with colleagues.
5. Make space for inspiring guests
If you have the luxury of extra room, you may want to consider transforming it into a multi-purpose event space. That way, you can invite guest speakers into the office to talk about topics relevant to the business, or host other creative events, such as book signings, art shows or music recitals.
Staff will appreciate the opportunity to glean ideas from other creatives, make contacts in the industry and distract themselves from their desk job.
6. Turn up the noise
A noisy workspace isn’t conducive to productivity in general, but research suggests that playing low to moderate levels of ambient noise (up to 70dB) can help boost creativity. With this in mind, why not try playing instrumental music or white noise through speakers placed around the workspace?
While there is a balance to be struck between noise that focuses the mind and noise that’s just distracting, getting it right should result in higher productivity. Just make sure everyone is happy with the ambient noise playing, or vary it throughout the day.
7. Turn down the lights
Interestingly, low lighting can stimulate creative thought processes, according to experts. When a room is darker, people feel less constrained to work within boundaries and are more likely to be explorative on a subconscious level.
Today, most offices have bright, fluorescent lighting, but while this is a practical design feature, it’s not the most effective one if you want your employees to develop creative solutions. Therefore, it might be time to ditch the traditional office lights and opt for softer, lower wattage lighting.
8. Pick the right colours
We all know certain colours prompt different feelings in us; but did you know that green and blue stimulate creativity? As time goes on, more and more employers are using this knowledge to their advantage – and you can too, by introducing plenty of green and/or blue tones into your workspace.
Investing in a number of indoor plants is a great way to bring green shades into a room, and it has the added benefit of oxygenating the air, which should help everyone work more efficiently. Otherwise, opting for green and blue furniture and furnishings or investing in art prints of natural scenes will work well.
9. Set up a suggestions box
If you want to encourage every team member to contribute ideas, why not put a suggestions box in the office? Whether you ask for input on a company-wide project or just proposals for the improvement of the workspace itself, a suggestions box allows everyone to put forward their ideas anonymously.
Although some team members will be happy to air their recommendations, others will be more reserved. So, offering the chance to provide ideas without the fear of them getting rejected should result in a higher number of responses and, in turn, a better end result.
10. Create a supportive environment
Finally, one of the best ways to encourage creativity is to make sure your employees feel valued. If people don’t think they feel appreciated within the team, it’s likely their work ethic will diminish and the business will suffer.
To maintain a workplace culture that sparks creativity, make sure you take the time to praise great work and remind employees how they can get advice or support if they need it. You could even put a rewards system in place, or treat the workforce to regular perks such as a team meal out.
So, there you have it; 10 ways to build a creative environment. To find out more about developing the perfect workspace, read our other blog posts below: