How To Increase Creativity in the Workplace (With Tips)

Updated September 30, 2022

Creativity is not only a fun trait that lets you stretch your imagination, but it is also a rewarding skill in the modern workplace. Creativity promotes critical thinking and innovation. Understanding how to increase creativity in the workplace can lead to higher levels of productivity and employee satisfaction.

In this article, we discuss creativity and its importance, list steps for increasing creativity in your workplace and offer tips for both encouraging and nurturing creative thinking.

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12 steps to increase creativity in the workplace

Here are several steps to increase creativity within the workplace:

1. Establish a clear mission and vision

Create a clear company mission and vision and reiterate it frequently. Ensure all employees are aware of your strategy and remain as transparent as you can about it. Sharing information builds further trust and a stronger bond between a company and its employees. It also helps them understand the current state of the business and how their work impacts the company.

2. Communicate the company's goals

Clearly communicate the company's direction or long-term goals. Also include data or statistics proving how each team's work affects the company's direction. Creating an open atmosphere shows employees their value to the company and encourages them to help reach both short- and long-term goals.

3. Hire the right people

Organizations that focus on diversity in their hiring efforts often bring employees with varying perspectives into the workplace. New perspectives allow problems to be seen from a different angle and be addressed with creative solutions. Employees with similar educational and cultural backgrounds may find that their ideas stagnate or become very similar to one another.

Direct your hiring efforts on diverse individuals with different skill sets. This creates a new atmosphere with increased innovation.

4. Implement flexible work hours

Consider adding flexible or work-from-home hours for certain roles that only need an internet connection. Working from home often reduces stress, allowing employees to think more clearly and creatively and come up with more effective ideas. 

Ensure steady productivity at home by setting guidelines for work along with clear expectations. Coordinate with managers and their teams to determine a flexible schedule that works best for them and also accommodates the company’s needs.

5. Provide space for critical thinking

Consider the design of your workplace—from the color scheme to the light sources. Colors impact the energy of a space, which either benefits or dissuades creative thinking. For example, rooms colored in pastel blues and greens often make people feel more comfortable and energized than those in rooms with white or gray walls. 

Lighting also plays a large role by properly illuminating spaces and making it easier to concentrate. Consider adding natural light where needed or use warm-tinted lightbulbs that create similar lighting.

Related: 10 Ways to Improve Your Creative Problem-Solving Skills

6. Adapt creative-thinking techniques

You can improve creativity by learning about and applying creativity techniques and exercises. Creativity techniques represent methods that promote creative thinking and its associated skills, such as idea generation, open-mindedness and problem-solving. In the workplace, you may use these techniques for both collaborative and independent activities. 

Read more: 16 Techniques for Creativity

7. Act on good ideas

Encourage employees to share their ideas by implementing the good ones and acknowledging the thought behind other ones. Let the employee personally know that you plan to implement their idea. Wait for positive outcomes, then formally tell the team who inspired the change. Addressing and publicly commending a good idea fosters sharing of ideas and greater levels of innovation. Team members feel more inspired to share their thoughts and opinions.

8. Reward creativity

Creativity only occurs when a business creates an atmosphere that allows it. When it does occur, reward it by whichever means you deem fit. For example, some companies award bonuses to employees who share new and daring ideas. Rewarding creativity gives it value, making it a more actionable endeavor for employees.

9. Offer further training

Offer additional training when possible, ensuring that all employees know what they need to do and what management expects of them. Explain that training opportunities allow them to grow their knowledge base, develop more skills and be creative and innovative and that these are traits highly valued by the organization. When employees feel valued, they feel more connected to the company and more willing to work hard for it.

10. Get employees more involved

Create a sense of transparency within your business by sharing relevant information with employees. Transparency encourages employees to feel more involved with company decisions and performance. Companies that share information appear to care about their employees and employee involvement. It instills a sense of ownership among employees and encourages them to work harder and think more creatively to achieve goals.

11. Encourage collaboration

Creativity often flourishes in group- or team-oriented environments. Encourage collaboration by allowing coworkers to pool efforts on certain tasks. As they work together, they're more likely to come up with creative ideas, using each other as inspiration. If some employees work from home or in separate office spaces, encourage the use of video chatting so they feel like they are part of the team.

Related: 9 Types of Collaboration You Can Use in the Workplace

12. Create time and space for fun activities

Schedule occasional team or company perks throughout the year. This might include anything from paid lunches to visiting a sports or gaming center. Consider including amenities in the office such as a video game room, fitness center or coffee shop. It allows employees to become acquainted in a more casual environment and may reduce work-related stress.

Related: 18 Creativity Exercises to Improve Creative Thinking

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Tips to increase your own creativity

While you promote creativity among your employees, you may want to improve your own creative thinking. Here are some tips to help you grow creatively:

  • Brainstorm new ideas and don’t be afraid to ask for advice or feedback

  • Challenge yourself with new opportunities

  • Consider alternative solutions

  • Keep a creativity journal to save ideas

  • Look for new sources of inspiration

  • Make time for creative thinking

  • Overcome a negative attitude or self-criticism

  • Seek out new experiences

  • Take risks to advance your abilities

  • Take some time off to recharge mentally and regenerate creatively

Related: 60 Creative Recruitment Ideas To Gain Qualified Talent

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