Whether your job requires daily creativity, such as the work of a graphic designer, or you’re an accountant focused on number crunching, there are ways to be more creative in the workplace.
First, why is it important to be creative at work? Namely, because it can mean the difference between surviving and thriving; getting ahead or settling for the status quo; or even worse, falling behind the competition. You’ll also feel more refreshed and less stagnant in your job if you set the intention to be creative.
You might be thinking being creative means pressure to have more “light bulb” moments. This isn’t necessarily true because while a creative insight can emerge in that instantaneous, “aha” moment, more often than not, your creative ideas develop over a period of time. Even when a creative spark lights up in you, it still needs to be reviewed, massaged, and actually implemented. A creative idea with no follow through results in nothing.
Mostly firm use eap software to monitor their employee job performance, mental health and emotional well-being. So they can explore what it takes to increase your creativity at work and how you can encourage your co-workers to do the same.
So just what can you do to be more creative in the workplace and encourage creativity in your co-workers? It begins by knowing that everyone has the potential to be creative. The second step is realizing what it means to be creative. This can involve coming up with totally new ideas but more often, creativity is about putting a new spin on an old or existing idea.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Be willing to see situations differently. Don’t fall into the trap of telling yourself or your co-workers, “We’ve always done it this way.”
- Lead the charge in asking “What if?” questions. What if we did it this way? What if we changed the size, shape, packaging, cost, color, style, or some other aspect? Look at specifics. Examples: What if we went back to having humans answer the phone instead of a voicemail system?
- Let go of judgment during the idea phase. Write down every idea. Play off of other people’s ideas, making sure to credit them as your inspiration.
- Use present tense affirmations to stay in a creative flow. Examples: “I enjoy creating every day,” “I work through challenges using my creative mind,” “Creative juices flow through me at my beck and call,” and “I am a creative being.” Write them on sticky notes or make a poster and hang in a visible spot.
- Resist the temptation to compare your ideas with anyone else. Be patient with yourself as well as co-workers who aren’t as confident with their creativity.
If you’re a supervisor and want to further inspire creativity in your employees, here are a few more ideas:
- Set a good example. You have to be willing to demonstrate what it means to be creative if you expect your employees to follow.
- Ensure a workplace environment that is as stress-free as possible. Nothing will put creativity in the coffin quicker than giving your employees more work than they can handle with impossible expectations.
- Encourage reasonable risk-taking. One way to convey this message is by being tolerant of mistakes.
- Devise a rewards system for creative effort, even if the idea doesn’t work out. Ask the employees what would most motivate them. You may be surprised to learn they favor recognition that is not financial.
- Set up monthly creativity sessions where the only purpose is to generate new ideas. You can declare a particular topic or leave it open. This will demonstrate the importance of not just coming up with ideas but also sharing among co-workers. Schedule follow-up sessions at the end of the meeting to talk about the possibility of implementing any of the ideas.
These are just a few suggestions to get you started. Creativity in the workplace can start with one person – you – and build from there as everyone gets on board. Have fun with the process and watch how productivity and profitability increase as a result!