Creative Design: Shaping Your Work Environment

November 26, 2014In Research, Creativity, Concepts4 Minutes

We don’t know how creativity occurs within the brain, but every industry has experienced some ideas and aspects that have shown positive results. How do we build and embrace creativity within the work environment? How can we shape that space to be one that inspires? Of all the research done on the subject, two categories have shown to be most effective – the physical environment where individuals do most of their work and thinking and the interpersonal environment that shapes the relationships within the workplace.

Creative agency team collaborates on the project
Creative agency team collaborates on designs.

Physical Environment

Surround yourself with inspiration. Creative organizations are embracing urban zoning in their office planning process, thinking about what emotion needs to be infused in the space. Does there need to be a quiet, contemplative writing area? Should you include an area that allows for a few hours of uninterrupted concentration? Do the walls and window area need to be bright and full of light to infuse energy and productivity? Having a few different types of spaces within the work environment will give employees a choice and can allow them to “switch it up.” Even aspects like lighting, music and overall ambiance make a huge difference.

For example, a moderate noise level is optimal for creativity – a high noise level can distract an individual from producing their best work, while complete silence may intimidate them and stunt the workflow. The same concept applies to extreme temperatures – keeping a room too hot or too cold detracts from creativity. This makes sense, at the most basic dimension – any extreme is bound to be a distraction from work and therefore results in a decreased level of creativity and productivity.

In my research, I have found a fantastic idea to boost inspiration: let employees decide how to be creative! Allow them the option of decorating their work area and even how they design. Creativity is usually spontaneous and fun (though sometimes it can be formed through a steady system, worked towards consistently), and building through each individual’s personal treasure trove of creativity is a sure way to bring on the new!

Interpersonal Environment

Employers are encouraged to take all steps necessary to make the workplace remain stress-free, which involves allowing employees to be themselves and expressive; an open, relaxed mind is open to creativity is at its peak. Ideas are often a new way of looking at an already established concept – they can also bring old elements into modern topics – remixing the old.

Determine what inspires your employees, and make sure they can be comfortable enough to express themselves creatively or ask for help if needed. Fostering a sense of purpose will create healthier, happier, and more productive roles.

Engage in meaningful dialog, trusting team members by knowing they will make positive decisions. With time, individuals will take the initiative, anticipate any possible future discrepancies, and communicate those effectively to the group. Since the team wants what’s best for the project, they will work together when shown that they are trusted and acknowledged for their hard work and dedication.