You Need to Build a Creative Workplace

For innovation to flourish, organizations must create an environment that fosters creativity; bringing together multi-talented groups of people who work in close collaboration together – exchanging knowledge, ideas and shaping the direction of the future.– Linda Naiman

We are going to talk about all the aspects of creativity and how a company can benefit from building a creative workplace. It would not be wrong to assume that every company desires a more innovative and creative workplace, especially given the fact that competition has increased and become more formidable than ever. Without a creative workplace (processes, strategies and employees included) a company cannot hope to move forward or even keep pace with the frenetic speed of the business world. Creativity allows for adaptability, open-mindedness, flexibility, cheerfulness, precision and other such powerful positive traits. A creative workplace allows the employees to stretch their minds, try new things and make them exciting and constantly engage themselves in tasks that will add value to themselves and to the company as a whole. In direct contrast to a creative workplace is a stagnant and boring one. Each person seems tired, unwilling to try out new ideas and are least concerned about finding better and more efficient methods of working. A stagnant company will soon turn from being successful to a laggard and will either be bought by a competitor or be wiped out from the business world.

A company that encourages a creative workplace will continually challenge its leaders and employees. Each person will be goaded to ‘think differently’ and move out of their comfort zone. From such a forward thinking approach are conceived ideas that are better, more effective and sustainable. Encouraging a creative workplace allows your employees to explore new ideas with the resources and tools at hand, which in turn translates to added productivity and work quality with no additional costs, for the company. Such a workplace and workforce are robust and admittedly the most beneficial means for a company’s success.

A creative workplace is like a workshop that allows each person to become a problem solver by looking at things through a new and improved focus and vision. Creativity and innovation are processes and have far reaching effects and hence need an environment that is conducive to their sustenance and growth and it is the onus of a company and its leadership to create such an environment and then allow their employees to sustain it and carry it forward. Companies that seek to encourage creativity also ensure that communication lines are kept clear, open and transparent since it is only through the consistent exchange of ideas that true innovation can take place.

It would be interesting to understand the qualities of a creative workforce – a major aspect of a creative workplace.  There will be a distinct air of energy in such a workplace – each person would be enthusiastic and would show great focus on things that need their attention. Creative employees have a lot of fun while working, their excitement is infectious and they have a great deal of tenacity and perseverance even in the face of obstacles and crisis.

In a creative workplace, the people therein seem more determined and indefatigable. They don’t give up and are not satisfied with slovenly and average output and work quality. The output of their work is precise, displays their hard-work and goes over and beyond the expectations of the company. People that work within a creative workplace achieve more and are proud of these achievements and yet are never overly confident or arrogant. They respect the contributions of their co-workers and are willing learners from the achievements of others. A creative workplace is so important since it encourages people to move ahead and not remain fixated on their laurels but only learn from them. In addition, such an environment requires that the people within it challenge the status quo while remaining grounded in values and the beliefs of the company. Creativity requires its ‘followers’ to have radical thought processes and not be conservative – they learn from their past accomplishments and failures and then quickly move forward by seeking new ways and methods and also taking calculated risks.

Another outstanding trait of a creative workplace is that the people therein are passionate about their work and a committed to delivering great results and providing great customer service. However, that does not make them complacent – rather they are willing to receive feedback even if it is negative in order to improve their work. The quality of such employees speaks for itself and they are not prone to adverse behaviour in the event that someone disapproves of their work or ideas.

Building a creative workplace is not difficult since creativity is not necessarily something that people are born with – it can be taught and inculcated. However, creativity needs a ‘breeding ground’ in order for it to grow and be amply expressed and that will happen when companies consciously focus on making a creative workplace. It is about encouraging employees to showcase their talents and have a ‘playground’ that boosts their innate creative spark. This again, as all other business processes, must begin from the top. The leaders must display creativity in all that they do and be completely open to new ideas, thoughts, approaches and techniques, even if they seem far-fetched and totally different to the methods used in the company traditionally. Doing so will rid the employees of their fear of reprimand and ridicule and they will be more forthcoming with their ideas and contributions, however small and insignificant they may seem. A creative workplace encourages and embraces change – the only constant – without which no progress is possible and lets the employees know that making mistakes is acceptable so long as they learn from them and that spontaneity is a welcome trait.

If companies don’t encourage and build a creative workplace, even inherently creative employees would have no way to express themselves and the many new and possibly beneficial ideas they may have would be a complete waste. This would be especially true of the newer and more timid employees – they would not find be able to find their voice unless there was an environment that encouraged them to present their ideas. Are you such a company or does your company’s policies thwart ideas and creativity and force its way on the employees?

Yet another way to a creative workplace is by putting up suggestion boxes around the office and in all locations.  Employees can bring forward their ideas – irrespective of how ridiculous they seem – in complete anonymity and yet your company would have received some extremely useful and creative ideas, in keeping with the culture of a creative workplace. Such methods lets the employees know that your company is committed to listening to them, building innovation and providing outlets for employees to contribute their ideas. However, it would be best to encourage your employees to openly make their suggestions, since if their suggestions are accepted and are beneficial for the company, they could be up for recognition and even a reward.

All rewards do not need to be financial in nature – in fact just being recognized and applauded before their team and maybe a large section of the company is usually a major morale booster not just for the creative employee but their co-workers too. There are many ways to building a creative workplace – it all depends on the nature of the company and the investment it is willing to make in this crucial endeavour.

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