Whether the word "creative" is in your company name or simply an adjective that describes your approach to problem solving, getting stuck in a creative rut can be as mind-numbing as a migraine. When your team is uninspired, projects chug along slowly and innovation seems impossible.
But helping employees be more creative and innovative isn't always cut and dry. And unfortunately, no amount of coffee will serve as the magic antidote.
Luckily facilities leaders can support several quick workspace tweaks to help stave off creative blocks and sustain innovative thinking.
1. Turn Under-Utilized Workspace Into an Employee "Playroom"
Have you ever given yourself permission to step away from a problem? The moment your mind wanders on to something else -- bam! The solution hits you like a ton of bricks.
An office playroom is a designated space where employees can go to escape frustrating and unproductive over-thinking. Play feeds the imagination, stimulates thought and can provoke workplace creativity. It also gets employees up and moving, which positively impacts brain function and fosters collaboration. While your employees are blowing off steam in a ping-pong match, they might suddenly find themselves in a brainstorming session that has them running back to their workstations.
2. Provide Workspace Variety
An individual's workspace has everything to do with their creative prowess. For example, which setting do you think lends itself to creativity better?
A. An office with neutral wall colors, dividers, minimal windows, silence and little-to-no decor.
B. An office with rich, vibrant wall colors, lush indoor plants, scenic views, an open floor plan and intriguing decor?
While many organizations think an office like Option A would eliminate distraction and enhance creative ability, the reverse is actually true. A lively and comfortable space is much more likely to inspire innovation.
The best option is to provide a mix of workspaces, including open space for those who prefer the hustle and bustle of a busy office, state-of-the-art collaborative spaces for epic brainstorming sessions, and quiet areas for those who prefer to create in a vacuum.
3. Encourage Employees to Personalize Their Workstations
Creative ruts can be as simple to solve as the items employees choose to display on desks (or lack thereof). Plants, pictures and (oddly enough) the color blue can help spark the imagination. But most importantly, you should also encourage employees to declutter their workstations and get organized. A few touches of familiarity are helpful, but disorder is distracting.
4. Adopt Technology That Supports Mobility
Sometimes, even the most effervescent office spaces just don't do the trick. In this case, employees need to get away from the stagnancy of their routine and expose themselves to something new, like a coffeehouse, a coworking space or their home office. Wherever they choose to go, support them with mobile technology like cloud access to their files and documents, mobile applications and collaborative tools that help them stay connected with home base.
5. Encourage Self-Talking
While we're all guilty of talking to ourselves at home, when we see someone do this at work, we're apt to think they're cuckoo. In reality, though, they may be brilliant! Talking out loud allows us to materialize and make sense of the thoughts inside our heads. In fact, the act of talking to ourselves is scientifically proven to help the brain work more efficiently. Practicing self-talk can help encourage your employees to try it, too.
Driving creativity and helping foster innovation in the workplace is necessary to help your organization stay ahead of the curve and consistently outperform your competitors. By adopting these five workspace trends, you can help your company remain on the cutting edge.