In a time of unprecedented change, people want to be creative at work. On top of that, business leaders know creativity can help them compete, bringing higher revenue and greater market share to their organizations. 

Despite this desire to be more creative at work, most people aren't living up to their creative potential. The solution: creating a workspace that supports all the diverse stages of creative work

At Egyptian Workspace Partners, we believe creativity is an essential ingredient for business growth and innovation, which is why we're here to help you create a space that unlocks your company's creative potential. 

In this article, we'll help you understand what creativity is. We'll also show you how to create a workspace that accelerates creative work and supports all the conditions your employees need to thrive. 

What is Creativity? 

Everyone talks about creativity, but what exactly is it? According to Steelcase, creativity isn't a linear or predictable process. It's not about artistic pursuits, but rather a focus on generating new ideas and solving complex problems. 

In short, creativity is inclusive for everyone. It's a rhythm of different activities, where people can come together in small or large groups, or even move apart to work alone, as long as they're working to achieve the same goal. 

5 Ways to Create Conditions for Creativity in the Workplace

1. Create Spaces that Support Employee Wellbeing

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Creative work is all about making connections, taking risks and being open to new ideas. For creative work to thrive and be successful, the workplace needs to be a productive environment that supports company growth and employee wellbeing.

Now, some companies are taking a more emotional approach to wellbeing and promoting their organizations as fun, creative workplaces. By focusing on the physical, cognitive and emotional wellbeing of their employees, organizations can boost morale and attract (and retain) new talent. 

When people work in environments that support positive emotions, they're free to be creative, collaborative, engaged and productive. They can generate creative ideas and solve problems in unique ways. 

For this reason, business leaders need more space for employees to be creative. They need to give people the freedom to express themselves authentically and show the legacy of the company brand and culture to reinforce progress and possibility. 

Design Considerations 

  • Create a welcoming environment with authentic design elements, artifacts and materials to inspire creativity
  • Design for physical and emotional comfort through posture options and comfortable proximity to other people and opbjects
  • Provide spaces that encourage people to engage with integrated technology and offer interactive ways to form ideas together 
  • Select materials inspired by nature, such as wood that embraces natural imperfections or stone that mimics natural landscapes
  • Choose fabrics with organic patterns, calming colors or natural textiles that reflect nature's soothing properties
  • Install glass wall partitions to increase the amount of natural light your office receives 

2. OFFER AN eCOSYSTEM OF sPACES

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Traditionally, the workplace has been designed for efficiency and taken a one-size-fits-all approach. Unfortunately, this doesn't give employees the ability to choose the right kind of setting for the creative work they need to do.

To foster creativity, organizations should provide an ecosystem of spaces to support individuals and teams as they cycle through the creative process, whether they need to co-create with others or focus on a personal project. 

When employees have more choices, they have a greater sense of control that helps them feel more empowered, engaged and less stressed. They're also more likely to drive new ideas, generate game-changing ideas and inspire innovative solutions.  

Design Considerations

  • Leverage cloud-based technology to connect spaces, tools, individuals and teams as they move throughout the day or project
  • Provide a variety of spaces and devices to support user choice and the different stages of creative work 
  • Scale the ecosystem with separate spaces for specific individual, team and organizational needs 
  • Provide seamless creativity between spaces to support the exchange of information and experiences from tools-to-tools and space-to-space 
  • Create spaces that allow for personalization instead of strictly enforced workplace standards 
  • Offer a variety of settings to help employees feel supported in their work 
  • Incorporate separate spaces or zones for individual, team and organizational needs 

3. CUltivate creativity with Collaboration spaces

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Fundamentally, creativity is about problem-solving. It's a difficult, messy process that's intensely demanding and requires people to constantly exchange ideas, tackle complex problems and work in rapid cycles to move faster than the competition.

The collaborative side of creative work also has challenges. In fact, the vast majority of business leaders think they're providing the right kinds of spaces for group collaboration, but only 25 percent think their spaces for teams are good places for creative work.  

To be creative, teams need spaces where they can come together, collaborate and build on each other's ideas. These spaces should also be agile and flexible, so groups can reconfigure the workspace as needed without increasing their real estate footprint.

Flexible furniture solutions, for example, allow for easy collaboration anywhere. Teams can rearrange tables and whiteboards to create dynamic neighborhoods, or they can even divide the office space into smaller breakout areas to focus or brainstorm ideas. 

Design Considerations

  • Use an advanced scheduling system like Steelcase Room Wizard or Crestron Room Scheduling to gather real-time data and make it easy to book space 
  • Incorporate mobile furniture solutions like Steelcase Flex, so, you can easily and quickly rearrange desks, tables, carts and markerboards on short notice 

4. Provide places for privacy

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95 percent of workers say they need access to quiet, private spots for confidential conversations and concentrated work. However, only 40 percent of those surveyed say they have access to these types of spaces. 

Creative work requires many different brain states, including the need to balance active group work with solitude and individual think time. People need designated, private places for the brain to rest, form new connections and access spontaneous thoughts. 

To support their employees, organizations must achieve a balance between collaboration spaces and private spaces where they can focus and be creative without being subjected to constant noise or distractions. 

By providing places for moments of privacy, business leaders can support higher levels of engagement and productivity, stronger collaboration and inspire creativity to make work easier for everyone. 

Design Considerations

  • Offer a variety of different spaces with integrated technology for different modes of work, activities and behaviors   
  • Use an architectural film like Casper Cloaking Technology on glass walls to obscure digital screens to outside view and ensure data privacy   
  • Support both spontaneous and planned needs for privacy with phone booths and pods with integrated technology  
  • Opt for a direct-field sound masking system like Steelcase QtPro or stream music legally with a solution like the Crestron Sonos Sound Machine   
  • Limit noisy disruptions with modular walls that have PVC-free sound seals and double acoustic seals for improved speech privacy   

5. Make Distance Disappear with Technology

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Technology has not always been properly leveraged during the creative process. But now, technology can be used to amplify our thinkng, especially in a post-COVID world where distributed teams can't let distance become a barrier. 

It's for this reason that distributed teams need fixed places to come together and be creative. They need a high-performing space that's designed to support everyone and integrated technology like large-scale collaboration devices and videoconferencing solutions to make their work easier.

In addition, this space should support multiple stages of creative work. It should encourage active participation and an equal opportunity for everyone to collaborate, create and contribute, whether they're at the office or working from home. 

Design Considerations

  • Choose a conferencing solution like CrestronFlex with touch-screen capabilities and the ability to collaborate on any platform for seamless collaboration 
  • Use similar tools and technology controls in all spaces, both on-site and at home, to help distributed teams collaborate and communicate effectively 
  • Install videoconferencing solutions and collaboration tools onto all employee desktops, laptops and mobile devices 
  • Consider camera and microphone placements carefully, so all users can be clearly audible and stay on-camera without disrupting the flow of information 
  • Provide co-creation tools, such as large-scale collaboration devices, that make ideas visible and allow everyone to contribute to and interact with content 

How cAN yoU cREATE cONDITIONS FOR CREATIVITY IN THE WORKPLACE?

When creativity is supported in the workplace, it becomes a habit that everyone follows. To help employees unlock their creative potential, you can start by building a physical environment that helps reinforce the shift toward a more creative culture. 

The result? A strong business growth strategy to help people discover a deep sense of purpose and personal fulfillment as they work creatively to help your organization succeed, now and for years to come. 

Connect with a Workspace Partner (all three divisions)

Brett Baltz

Written by Brett Baltz