It’s no secret that you produce better results at work if you actually enjoy what you’re doing. Being given the personal freedom to work creatively is one way to improve employee satisfaction – and if it results in more innovative solutions and better ideas for propelling your business, then that’s an added perk! As a pretty creative place to work, we’ve been inspired by our own practices to share these effective tips for being creative at work.
Why is Creativity in the Workplace Important?
Being creative isn’t just for your weekend hobbies, nor is it just for those working in traditionally creative roles – whatever tasks you’ve got to accomplish this week, they can be tackled creatively, no matter who you are or what you do!
60% of CEOs polled in this survey cited creativity as the most important leadership quality, and with consumers’ average attention span hitting an all-time low of 8 seconds (1 second less than that of a goldfish!), finding the creativity to do something different sounds like a much-needed approach right about now.
Here are our favourite ideas for getting into the habit of thinking outside of the box and boosting your creative problem-solving skills.
Create an Inspiring EnvironmentOkay, so this first idea isn’t unique to your workplace – a positive environment can help inspire your best work, in both your personal and professional life. Staring at the same four walls day in and day out can be just the thing to zap the energy and motivation right out of you, so it makes sense to create a space where you want to be, and want to work in. Whether you accomplish this by getting your Feng Shui on or add some fun decorations to brighten up your space, it’s completely up to you!
If you want to get really technical, colours have different meanings and can make you feel different emotions – according to colour psychology. Red can instil passion, yellow is cheerful, green is growth, blue is peace, purple is the colour of the imagination. Use your colour choices around your office to tackle any emotional barriers that are leaving you feeling uninspired.
Start SmallRome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a new creative outlook. Rather than starting with some big, transformative, revolutionary project (a lot of pressure there), start with something small. An interesting twist on a 10% off promotion, a funny subject line for an email, even introducing a new type of coffee in the office kitchen. Then build yourself up to bigger, meatier projects in time.
Step OutsideOr just away from your computer. When you’ve been working on something for a long time, it can be hard to see the forest from the trees.
According to Kimberly Elsback, a management professor at the University of California, “Never taking a break from very careful thought work actually reduces your ability to be creative.”
It’s important to remember that your brain is a muscle, and the key source of your creativity. Giving your brain a rest and a chance to recharge, just as an athlete rests their muscles between activities, can help boost your creativity.
But just how long should you go on a break for? In the UK, you’re entitled to a 20-minute break per day if you work over 6 hours, but scientific consensus for the optimum length varies between 25 and 90 minutes.
Get a FriendThere are a few ways that getting a buddy involved in your work can actually benefit you creatively. One of which is to get them to check over your work with a fresh set of eyes and give feedback. You never know – they might suggest something that you never thought of, which could lead to a whole other direction of your project!
It’s not just you who benefits from this; make sure you’re encouraging your friend and trying new things with them, even if it’s something small as going to new places at lunch or sitting in a different meeting space. All these things can help boost creativity for both members of this relationship.
Get Out of Your RoutineYou get into work in the morning – what’s the first thing you do? Make yourself a hot drink? Check your emails? Pick up the phone? Try switching up the way you do things!
A lot of people perform best in the mornings, but if you’re spending your peak creative time scrolling through and replying to any emails you’ve missed over the weekend, is that really the best use of your time? Get straight on with a creative project as soon as you get into work, then leave the emails until the afternoon.
Do it Differently, and BetterOne of the first steps to your creative awakening is realising that every little thing that you do, or is done within your business, can be done differently, and most importantly, can be done better. All you have to do is find the better way!
Approach every task as though it’s a temporary solution just waiting for radical change, and figure out ways to streamline your approach to the seemingly mundane tasks you face on a day-to-day basis.
Check Out the CompetitionOkay, so outright copying your competitors isn’t creative. But taking inspiration, and learning from their mistakes, definitely can be. Maybe you really liked that email they sent, or they had a social media campaign that had potential.
You don’t even have to stick within your industry to find inspiration – what are other organisations further afield doing to tackle challenges that you might be facing?
Take some of their great ideas and implement them into your own plan.
Keep an Open MindFostering an accepting environment at work is crucial for being able to explore your wildest, most creative ideas. And a judgemental team will stifle your creativity. If you think someone’s going to shoot down your ideas or simply dismiss you, you’re less likely to think big.
A great mantra to adopt into your workplace for a more creative team is: no idea is a bad idea. A lot of what we do here at instantprint involves taking different members of each team for an idea session, so we can hear from multiple perspectives across the business on certain issues. This diversity means you can hear from people with different backgrounds within the business, which means different ways of solving problems.
Whether it’s something as small as going outside for a breath of fresh air or as groundbreaking as tackling a big project with a fresh perspective, we hope these tips give you everything you need to become a more creative worker. For more inspiration, here’s how to be more productive at work and at home.