What makes a work environment creative?
A creative work environment has many different characteristics that work together to build an open, trusting and innovative environment. Highly creative work environments enable employees to take risks and share ideas. They also allow employees with different skills, learning styles and personalities to adjust workplace practices to suit their needs. Creative work environments use employee feedback to encourage a culture of mutual respect and appreciation of people’s unique strengths.
Best practices for establishing a creative work environment
Here are some of the best actions you can take to encourage a creative environment in your workplace:
Find out what inspires your employees
To develop a truly creative work environment, open a line of communication with your team and find out what inspires them the most. People who thrive in creative work environments often invest their emotions and self-worth into doing good, worthwhile work, so it’s important to understand their priorities and passions to motivate them appropriately. Finding out what interests and motivates the individuals within your company will help you build an overall culture that supports their creativity.
Plan regular team outings
One of the best ways to develop a creative atmosphere in your workplace is to schedule regular team-building activities. Bonding outside of the office can improve work relationships and provide opportunities for candid discussion and relaxed communication. Give employees a break from work by doing creative activities together, such as doing an art project, learning a skill or participating in a fun community event. Getting away from your regular workspace strengthens relationships within your team and energizes them to do great work when they return.
Encourage personal expression
Creative employees often do better work and feel more comfortable when they are able to express themselves through office decor and clothing choices. Even within a highly professional environment, giving employees more freedom with what they wear to the office or how they set up their desk space can have a positive impact on their mood. Allowing and even encouraging people to be creative in one aspect of their life can result in increased creativity and innovation on the job.
Respond positively to failure
You can encourage a creative work environment by allowing your employees to fail and embracing lessons from those failures, instead of punishing failed outcomes. Responding to failure with a positive mindset and focusing on learning from those failures can motivate employees to take smart risks without fear of retribution. When people aren’t afraid to make mistakes, they can push the boundaries of their creativity and contribute to the growth of your business.
Regularly celebrate success
In addition to accepting and learning from failure, regularly celebrate employee successes. Reward people who do excellent work, and look for positive qualities in each of your employees. Learn how your team likes to be appreciated and follow through on celebrating their good work, whether you give out certificates at a public ceremony or leave a thoughtful private note on someone’s desk. Celebrating employee success shows that you acknowledge and care about their work.
Check-in with your team
One of the benefits of having a creative work environment is that employees are highly invested in their work, but this can also be one of the challenges. Creative, engaged employees are usually emotionally committed to their work and may be more susceptible to burnout and stress. Regularly check in with your employees about how you can support them and ask what they need to continue doing excellent work. These conversations acknowledge their emotional investment and demonstrate that their wellbeing is a priority to the company.
Create learning opportunities
Offer learning opportunities and professional development to inspire your employees to create a culture of growth and continued learning. In addition to external opportunities like workshops, classes and conferences, ask your team if anyone is interested in sharing their unique knowledge and skills with others. Encouraging your staff to share knowledge and learn new skills together promotes creativity and provides everyone with opportunities to step into a leadership position.
Use an open office plan
To boost collaboration and teamwork, consider arranging your office in an open plan, where coworkers can talk with one another and discuss ideas. Compared to traditional environments where each person might work at a secluded desk or cubicle, open office plans don’t have walls separating each employee and might have people on the same team share a large office space. Open office plans allow employees to ask coworkers for input and work on projects together without scheduling meetings.
Seek employee input
Any creative work environment should be built on input from the people who work in that environment every day. Ask employees for input regularly and make adjustments to office norms based on that feedback. Managers should model positive behavior by opening lines of communication and showing an earnest interest in what employees have to say.
Creative work environment FAQs
To learn more about the importance of a positive work environment, review some of the frequently asked questions about developing a creative work environment.
How can I improve a negative work environment?
You can slowly change a negative workplace culture by modeling positive behavior and scheduling team-building events in the office. Spread positive feedback during staff meetings and encourage others to do the same.
What are the benefits of a creative work environment for employers?
A creative work environment can build a positive reputation for your company among talented job applicants while also driving innovation and high-quality work. Creative work environments can benefit a company’s financial success by encouraging employees to seek out the conditions they need to succeed.
What professions need a creative work environment?
Companies in any field or industry can benefit from having a creative work environment. Creative workplace environments adapt to the needs of the people who work there, so they can look different from business to business. Professionals like artists and writers often expect a creative workplace, but even people in highly technical fields can produce better work as a result of a creative environment.