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How to inspire a creative work environment

Thu, 08/09/2016 - 09:00

Okay, so we work at a digital agency and we have to be creative. It’s a big part of what we do. But creativity isn’t only important in the marketing and advertising world. Every industry needs new ideas in order to grow. After all, you can’t do things the same way for 20 years and call it progress.

New ideas and a fresh perspective come from encouraging a workplace filled with creative energy. Your employees have to want to explore their thoughts and think further than the next deadline. Here are a few ways you can inspire a work environment that produces great ideas.

Let people chat

Don’t assume that every employee huddle is a bitchfest about the executives. Yes, it may be but everyone needs to let off steam once in a while. Rather let people talk. Chances are they’re either discussing their weekend plans, personal drama or work. In case it’s the latter, let them really get into it. And if it’s personal, so what? The best ideas come from random conversations. Don’t watch your staff like a hawk. That’s not going to get anyone thinking creatively.

Encourage play at the office

Not many people associate work with fun activities. But they should. You may think that playing silly games stops people from getting their work done. However, that’s not the case. Sure, it distracts people for a few minutes but that only means they’ll be able to concentrate more when they return to their desks.

Fun things to do at the office could include the following:

Desk exercises – In the morning everyone picks a keyword and whenever someone slips that word into conversation, you have to do a set of exercises at your desk. At first people may get malicious but soon they’ll let it go.

A drawing wall/board – This is less of a game and more of a creative release. You take one wall in the office or a whiteboard and let people make their mark. They can draw pictures, write cool quotes or scribble their own names. It’s up to them.

A quotes sheet – People say funny things. These things are often far more hilarious taken out of context. So, get someone to volunteer to write down all these things. Staff members forward all the quotes from their department to this person and the list is sent out at the end of the month. It’s a great way to fit a few laughs into the workday.

Don’t shut people up

The worst thing a business can do is not listen to its employees. The people on the ground floor know what’s going on with the day-to-day business. They’ve seen where errors occur and have direct experience with what works. Anyone from the intern to the marketing manager could have an idea that changes everything for the better. All you need to do is allow them to air their thoughts and pitch them to you without you shooting them down.

Yes, obviously there are such things as bad ideas. But they may spark good ones. Have an open door policy when it comes to suggestions. You’ll be surprised what people come up with. Soon you’ll have solutions to problems you didn’t even know existed.