6 Strategies for Boosting Workplace Creativity

6 Strategies for Boosting Workplace Creativity

6 Strategies for Boosting Workplace Creativity

Creative problem solving is one of the soft skills employers consider most valuable and hardest to find, according to a Bloomberg. One reason problem solving is so rare may be that creativity is not usually taught in schools as a specific skill set. Employers can help bring out creative talent in their employees by taking steps to nurture it in the workplace.

Build a Creative Environment

Creativity taps the right side of the brain, which relies heavily on visual input. A visually stimulating workspace promotes creativity, while a dull workspace has the opposite effect. Ninety percent of employees say their attitude towards work is negatively affected by the quality of their workplace environment, according to the Journal of Public Affairs, Administration and Management. Wallpaper color, window views and even ceiling height can have an impact on creativity.

One way to build a more visually stimulating environment is by encouraging employees to decorate their workspaces. When a desk looks clinical, it’s unlikely to be inspiring. Allowing employees to give their workspace a personal touch can boost morale while encouraging a more creative mindset.

Add Artwork

Dr. Craig Knight, who spent 12 years studying the psychology of working environments, says that art in the workplace improves employee satisfaction and productivity. Deutsche Bank puts this principle into practice by decorating its offices with the largest collection of corporate art in the world. You might not have Deutsche Bank’s deep pockets to invest in buying art galleries, but you can still liven up the office by adding a painting or some flowers.

You can also invite employees to bring or make their own art. For workers who think they can’t draw a straight line, providing adult coloring books can bring out the creative side of your employees.

Use Brain Games

Brain games are another way to boost workplace creativity. Studies have shown that challenges such as crossword puzzles boost verbal ability, says researcher Ann Lukits. There are several ways employers can introduce brain games into the workplace. One is leaving crossword puzzles, word games and sudoku books available in the office lounge or lunchroom. Another is publishing puzzle challenges in the office newsletter or sending them out to the department mailing list.

Invite Employee Input

Your employees might be full of creative ideas they never share because nobody asks them. Providing an office suggestion box can encourage them to share their ideas. You can create a physical suggestion box or elicit digital suggestions via email or text. When inviting employee input, the Oxford College of Marketing emphasizes the importance of not discouraging contributions by criticizing submitted ideas. Be positive toward employee suggestions, and they’ll be more likely to contribute. You might even consider offering a periodic reward for the best solution to a specific office issue.

Explore Brainstorming

Another tool employers have long used to stimulate creativity is brainstorming. Traditional brainstorming follows certain established rules, such as encouraging all ideas to be expressed, withholding criticism and building on other people’s ideas. Modified methods of brainstorming, like mind mapping, have also been developed. You can mind map on paper or you can use digital mind mapping tools.

Allow Breaks

Fatigue is the enemy of creativity. Creative energy requires periodic refueling. Periodic power naps about a half hour or less give the brain opportunity to recharge without leading to the grogginess associated with deep sleep. Providing lounge space where employees can relax on their breaks may make them more productive and creative when they return to work. Taking periodic breaks from electronic devices can also nourish creativity. Studies show that overuse of electronic devices can hurt the brain’s ability to think deeply, and unplugging even for a half hour can boost brain performance, says Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman.

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