As the UK’s productivity slump continues to bite, many businesses across the country are trying to find ways in which they can combat low productivity and increase innovation.
The trend for inducing creativity and innovation has, in the last few years, been focused on office design and creating a unique environment which employees find stimulating: optimising the space which employees work in to improve engagement, happiness at work and productivity.
But there are other ways that you can promote creativity and innovation in your business. The small business experts from Brighter Business have got you covered – read on for more.
Introduce free time
Building a trusting workplace is important for developing a strong team culture. By showing that you trust your staff – giving them free time, not micromanaging and so on – can take some pressure off and unleash the creativity.
Creating a trusting environment could mean giving your employees some freedom and flexibility to focus on mini side projects. It may sound counteractive to dedicate productive work hours to personal time, but a few hours once a week to dedicate to projects of personal or professional interest to them can make a creative outlet which can feed into their work.
Plug in, tune in, don’t drop out
Some studies have shown that listening to music while working can have a positive impact on mood, which in turn boosts creativity.
Other studies have also found that as many as 79 per cent of people who do not or cannot listen to music at work would benefit from doing so. This is because music improves mood and psychological well-being.
Improving psychological wellbeing can help to create a working environment which gets workers in the zone or inflow.
Introduce new ways of doing things
Do you find that meetings and presentations are taking up too much time, or do you think that they’re inhibiting top performance from your employees?
Unadventurous routines can kill creativity; new practices force adaptation and development. Use the workplace as a testing ground. Innovate to engender innovation.
Change the way your meetings take place, whether that is how meetings are conducted or the space in which they take place. Introduce new furniture or experiment with the layout of the room to encourage discussion, change colours to create a psychological effect, make meetings more dynamic by removing chairs and so on.
Presentations don’t need to be dull, information-dense creations; rather, they should illustrate what is being spoken about. The Pecha Kucha format (a timed presentation, consisting of 20 slides of 20 seconds duration each) could be the cure – strip down presentations to fit the allotted six minutes and 40 seconds to ensure clarity and conciseness of communication, and emphasise the illustrative nature of presentations.
Stimulate working ‘flow’
That feeling when you’re immersed in something to such an extent that you lose track of time? That’s called flow, a psychological state characterised by intense focus, heightened involvement and enjoyment. If you’ve ever lost six hours to a video game when you thought you’d only been playing for 20 minutes, you were most likely inflow.
Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi named flow in 1975, and theory behind flow states has been used to try to improve learning in schools, as well as in workplaces.
Trying to get your staff into a flow state sounds great, but there are specific psychological conditions which must be met and a lack of disruption. Noisy offices and workers who are well connected with smartphones, email, telephones, and distracting office neighbours are unlikely to be able to achieve flow.
Instead, Csikszentmihalyi proposed creating environments which are more likely to induce flow. Similarly, having employees work on those projects which align closest with their skills and interest is more likely to induce flow.
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