The key ingredients to a creative working environment

Creativity is a powerful tool for encouraging motivation and productivity in the office. One study has shown, for instance, that people work faster and better in an enriched office environment than in one with minimal decoration, and the distractions are a great aid to creativity.

With that in mind, we’ve put together some of the ways you can encourage creativity and innovation in your team.

Give people a reason to care

When it comes to your company’s strategy and challenges, be open with your team. If they understand what the business’s challenges are, they will not only understand how they fit into it, they will also care more about helping it succeed, and might even come up with creative ways of doing things that could help productivity even more.

Encourage suggestions

By encouraging your staff to voice their ideas about ways of working or new products or services to offer, they’ll feel more included and more motivated towards the company. Whether you use a suggestions box, regular ideas meetings, or have a whiteboard people can scribble their suggestions or notes on, you’re encouraging them to think out of the box. And even if one person’s idea isn’t ultimately workable, it might spark off similar ideas that could make a real difference.

Be supportive

If you’re going to encourage a creative working environment, then you need to encourage people to share their ideas. And to do this, you must be positive about all the ideas suggested – even if it’s not a good idea at all – otherwise no-one else will put any forward.

Encourage friendly competitions and rewards

Encourage productivity by introducing rewards for individuals who do well, or come up with great ideas. Every now and again, shake things up in the office by having fun and friendly competitions, with small prizes for the person or team who, say get the most sales in the next hour. Enjoyment and productivity are very good bedfellows!

Make time

Longer hours are actually counterproductive, and the more tired people become, the less able they are to focus properly on what they’re doing. Encourage your staff to take breaks and not work through their lunch hours. When people are away from their desks and their workload, they allow their minds to wander, and this is actually more likely to produce creative ideas than if they’re at their desks working 100% of the time.

You can enhance this by encouraging ‘walking meetings’, where teams go outside to the local park or a coffee shop to catch up, rather than sit in the office. The external stimulation will not only refresh them, but it can also enable them to come up with some great ideas.

Set a good example

If you are leading a team, you become their role model. If you are seen to encourage and support creativity, your team is more likely to respond in a similar way.