Creativity is imperative in the workplace no matter the business. Whether your company is trying to sell products or advertise for other companies, creativity is the foundation for success. Creativity is what drives employees to think and work with what resources they have. It is what helps them identify and solve problems. Encouraging creativity alleviates the mentality of “this is not my job”.
A workplace needs creative spaces. Creativity can take place in a variety of several spaces, some are more obvious than others which is why a company must have many. The first creative space is a physical space. This is someplace designed within the office for brainstorming and creativity. It is an area where employees can set aside their work duties and switch gears. This physical space can be as simple as a whiteboard on the wall or a conference table in the meeting room. Gathering in this physical space is a clear sign to others in the office that creativity is about to take place. Creative space can also be personal space. Everyone needs a space that they feel is “theirs”. Of course this needs to be within reason. It doesn’t have to be a pool installed in every floor, but there should be a place where employees can feel safe and free, “at home” where they can work.
Another form of creative space is mental space. Employees should be given the freedom to be silent, think, or join in. Some employees are introverts while others are not impulsive. Some people require mental space before they can really access their creative side. It is important that employees are given clock space for creativity. There needs to be regular meetings for creativity, especially if your company has a specific project taking place. This is a way to simultaneously keep everyone informed regarding the project and address any problems that may arise.
Companies should have exploratory space for creativity. This means exposing the employees to something that is unfamiliar in order to spark creativity. This can range from in-house events to field trips, anything that can provoke new ideas or new interests. Remember that creativity is what keeps long term productivity going in your office. Without creativity, your company’s productivity will dwindle.
Your office can also have idea centers. These would be considered physical creative spaces. They can function as more than a break room, and will serve as a place where creative ideas can be dumped. There should be few boundaries. This means that creativity and ideas should be allowed in many forms including clippings, drawings, found objects, etc… The idea centers should allow anonymity. This means that employees are free to post things as they wish without fear of being identified as the person behind the idea. This frees employees. Of course, this is contingent upon the content in the idea center remaining appropriate and free from personal attacks.
These creative idea centers, both online and virtual, should contain things such as whiteboards. Whiteboards are simple and offer immediate strength. Ideas don’t have to linger. They can be erased and employees given a blank slate the next day. Bulletin boards also cultivate collaboration, allowing employees to pin interesting ideas on it and share them with other employees like a collage. Of course, at some point these photos will need to be cleared off so that a fresh start can be made. Whatever you choose to incorporate, having a creative outlet is the perfect idea for collaboration without the fear of being reprised. Even if employees only put in twenty minutes per week of creative space, it will help cultivate long term success for your company.