“Creativity and innovation require people to take risks. People are more likely to do that when they feel happy, secure and trust the people they are interacting with at work.” – Kevin Kuske, Chief Brand Anthropologist at office supplies business Turnstone, on the Entrepreneur.Creativity and collaboration have become two of today’s workplace Holy Grails. Competitive business landscapes as well as cool companies like Google and Apple have made being innovative and creative not only a requirement to stay ahead of the competition, but desirable too. Wanting your business and staff to be more creative and collaborative is one thing – making creativity and collaboration happen is quite another. But understanding how to create a fertile ground for ideas to flourish in is the starting point. Let’s take a look at how to make your workspace more creative and collaborative.
It’s a balance between processes and freedom.
Creativity, by its very definition, is spontaneous and unstructured – quite different to the processes and organisation that structure most businesses. Creativity is essential if a business is to innovate, develop and survive in ruthless marketplaces, but processes are also needed to give ideas form. Finding a balance between creativity, logic, freedom and process is therefore essential when creating an environment for creativity and collaboration to thrive.
A happy workforce is a creative workforce.
Another vital ingredient required to breed creativity and collaboration is positive staff morale. As illustrated by the quotation from Kevin Kuske at the beginning of this article, people are more likely to open their doors of creativity if they feel happy in their work environment. Give staff the leeway to work in their own style, incentivise them with a leave day for getting ahead with their work, take an interest in their welfare and career progression, and create a comfortable working environment (more on this in a future blog). That said, there’s no one size fits all – you need to implement a personalised approach when finding ways to boost morale. What makes Charlie happy and more productive might hinder Lisa’s motivation.
Your physical space and who you’re around impacts creativity and performance.
Creativity and collaboration don’t just spring from changed mindsets – you can encourage your employees to be more creative by changing the physical layout of your office. Make sure there’s several areas for group work where people can talk without disturbing others who need to get down to some grafting. Whiteboards and flip charts are great accessories to these areas for capturing ideas and working off screen. Also include some open-plan quiet areas for solitary work. Even though not collaborative per se, research from Harvard University – published on the Brock University website – has shown that your performance can be enhanced by simply sitting next to other people.
Office supplies can help your staff be more creative and collaborative – take it from us, we’re a stationery supplier. For more information about how office supplies can achieve this, download our guide Office Psychology: How to create workspaces that employees love.