Ideas to Make Your Workspace Induce Creativity
Here are some proven steps that some of the top businesses in the country (think Google and Apple) have taken to make sure that their employees feel not only inspired on a daily basis, but open to that inspiration so their creativity flows directly from their brains and into their work projects: Call it Workspace Creativity.
• Introduce Extracurricular Activities. Each of your departments are focused on one aspect of your company day in, day out. That can be draining on even the most creative among us. To break up that monotony, try bringing the departments together for expression through hobbies and activities such as exercise, music, art, sports, etc. That energy can travel back into the boardroom where it explodes into amazing ideas.
• Creative Solving Hour. One hour out of the day (or a few out of the week), have all your employees get together for a creative brainstorm where none of the conventional items are allowed. Instead of laptops and smartphones, only crayons and paper are allowed. Workspace Creativity can include Legos or clay to translate ideas into models. Get the juices flowing and your employees will have more fun solving the tough problems in creative ways.
• Creatives Meeting. If your company handles pitches or projects, set aside an hour per week to listen to them. During this hour, the wackiest, zaniest ideas should be pitched, strongly considered and even laughed at. This is a great way to break tension and think outside the box. Place rewards on the risk-taking (not results) and emphasize failure is always an option.
• Mix and Match. Yes, your departments are separate for a reason, but what would happen if you assigned one or two from each department to a special team for a project just to see what comes out of it? More than likely, you will have some unique ideas (if nothing else-don’t expect a finished project) that each of the special team members can then take back to their departments. When each department gets to each team idea, they will add their own take and in the end, you will have more options to choose from than ever before. Feel free to mix and match from here as well, giving you a super-creative outcome that transcends your typical boundary lines.
• Ditch the Office Altogether. Of course, an easy way to change the creative energy is to change the scenery entirely. A meeting in a park on a nice day, inside of a museum, at a sports bar or cafe—use the landscape around your area to bond with your team members outside of the office and pick up a little of that spark. Often times the office feels too “officey” which stifles creativity. People say things and ideas they have outside of work when they are outside of work.
• Hot Desks. Hot desks are used in many office settings. These are basically work stations that don’t belong to anyone, but anyone can use. The idea here is that people will naturally flow towards where they are most comfortable working. Even if this doesn’t work out (due to backlog at the hotter hot desks), you can analyze why the popular workspots are preferred and then replicate these particulars at other work stations. In the end, what you wind up with are a ton of desirable work stations.
• Dress Codes. Do you really need your employees in suits and ties and pantsuits? Yes, for client meetings, but if they are just sitting around the office and the public isn’t privy, why not let your employees dress for the creativity you want to see from them? When they’re more comfortable, they will be themselves.
• Color Your World. Do you know what’s not creative or inspiring? Gray walls and cubicles. Do you know what is? Blue and green hues, ambient noise, dimmer lighting, open spaces—all of these have been proven by study after study to increase creativity. If an overhaul isn’t in the budget, make sure you encourage employees to bring objects from home (that won’t distract others) to liven up their own workspaces. If everyone does, the office gets a personalized rehash that will certainly drive workspace creativity.