A workplace usually has a team framework that needs looking after, otherwise it will begin to go stale. As well as motivation and other factors, it is vital to create the optimum conditions for creativity in the workplace. Creativity is often noted as the spark which keeps the team functioning.

An IBM report involving over one thousand company CEOs revealed that the ability to ignite creativity was ranked as the overall number one leadership quality, in terms of importance to the health of the workplace.

If you can get your employees to feel comfortable enough to contribute their own ideas and act on them, it shows that you are nurturing a healthy work environment.

Even if you work remotely or are not part of a team, keeping your creativity levels high will bring around a heap of benefits.

As the head of an organisation, you will likely find that your colleagues are brimming with smart ideas if you can give them the platform to express themselves.

Allow for flexible working hours

Not every employee will suit the traditional 9-5 working day. Perhaps somebody is more creative if allowed to work at night, or is able to work from home a few days every week.

Encouraging flexibility will avoid your employees suffering from the 9-5 ‘slump’, and approach each day with a fresh enthusiasm for contributing ideas.

Multiple studies have shown that having flexible working hours increases productivity and general satisfaction, and only a satisfied employee will feel motivated to pitch their thoughts.

Develop a team mentality which encourages creativity

This one comes with multiple benefits.

Making people feel a valued part of a team will give them the confidence to make their voice heard. If one employee shares an idea, it can be built upon by everybody else and moulded into shape, encouraging team-building and motivating improvement.

If often working as an individual, an employee might privately communicate their ideas with you. As part of a team, the idea could be bounced off colleagues and sharpened before it comes to you.

Put past creative failures on the table

Don’t be afraid to share with employees some examples of ideas which have ultimately failed before. This should remind them of the fact that your ears are open to any idea, and failed plans are a normal occurrence.

Even better if you can demonstrate how the organisation has learned from previous failures. People will feel that their idea could benefit the organisation regardless of whether or not it succeeds, and hopefully feel fearless when igniting their creative spark.

Create an inspirational workspace

A dimly-lit and dull working environment is unlikely to inspire creativity, and nor should you expect it to. Whether it be adding some lively posters to the walls or adding some greenery to the office, your employees will appreciate the effort.

If you can’t figure out how to spruce up your current working space, there is always the option of taking a “creative break” as a group. Yes, that is a valid excuse.

Company retreats have been shown to help people to focus on the bigger picture and begin to create and execute ideas to implement upon return to the office.

It is important to extend the offer of a retreat beyond the key decision-makers, so nobody feels left out.

Provide the right creative equipment

Strive to give your employees the best tools for the job, and they will reward you with excellent ideas.

The logic on this one is pretty simple - nobody would be able to execute an idea, no matter how great it was, without the proper tools for doing so.

If you lead a team of web designers, provide them with every piece of updated software. If you are guiding a team of writers, offer them optimal writing spaces and ergonomic keyboards.

Reward creative behaviour

In the main, this is about ideas. Any employee who consistently comes up with a stream of ideas should be rewarded in some capacity so they remain motivated to do so. This could come in the form of praise, being allowed a longer lunch break, or even a financial reward.

As ever, the important thing is to reward creativity independent of whether or not the idea was a successful one. If employees are ignored after submitting an unsuccessful idea, they will be less likely to submit ideas in the future.

Extend the scope of creativity

Perhaps you have an employee who struggles to come up with fresh ideas, but is fantastic at finding new solutions when others struggle with a piece of work.

This is a form of creativity, and should be recognised as such.

As part of your efforts to reward creativity, you could make a point of actively encouraging any creative instinct your employees show.

In your workplace, the definition of creativity doesn’t have to be restricted to just generating ideas. It can become a part of how your teams work together, share thoughts, and improve, encouraging professional and growth.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash