A recent BBC article stated that ‘most office workers do not expect full time office return’. While this might not come as a huge surprise and will be welcomed by millions of employees that enjoy some aspects of working from home, there are some negatives that are often overlooked.
One centres on creativity in the workplace. Indeed the article included a YouGov survey finding that revealed half of 530 senior leaders said that workers staying at home would adversely affect both creativity and collaboration.
Cynics may say this is an attempt by leaders to get staff back to offices. However, most of us would surely agree that communal workplaces and physically interacting with colleagues fosters greater creativity than when working in isolation and over Zoom calls.
The relationship between wellbeing and creativity
Creativity is a wonderful combinatory force; it’s the ability to turn ideas into actions, and challenges people to seek new solutions to complex problems. It’s the fuel that drives innovation and grand design, and the reason why our society has advanced rapidly since the beginning of time. Every person has the ability to be creative and workplaces should promote a culture where this is encouraged.
Why? Because there is a myriad of evidence that shows more creative workplace cultures have increased revenue and greater market share. That’s why companies such as Google, Lego and Microsoft who value innovation and new ways of thinking are among the world leaders in business. And intrinsically linked to creativity at work is the positive wellbeing of employees.
Research, from the World Economic Forum, has found that employees in companies that support healthy habits are eight times more committed and three and a half times more creative and innovative.
When we are in a positive mood we become better problem solvers as we have an easier time focusing, and are more open minded to new ideas. But that’s not the only reason. It comes as no surprise that increased staff morale can benefit a business significantly- if employees are happy they will work better and feel more invested in their work.
Creativity can be harnessed by business of all sizes
Creativity takes many forms and isn’t exclusive to the likes of Lego, Facebook, Google and Nike. There are simple ways to boost creativity (and in turn wellbeing) at companies of all sizes. For example:
Encourage employees to share knowledge by providing a platform for colleagues to learn from each other. This can be done through lunch-and-learns and special classes taught over video.
Another way to boost employee wellbeing and foster creativity in the workplace is through fitness classes. During lockdowns, our Zoom Zumba classes became a huge hit with many clients old and new. Feedback received indicated it was a fantastic way of reducing stress and increasing team cohesion among staff. Dance has been shown to reduce cortisol levels and improve communication between peers; this is great for team work and joint problem solving.
Supporting employees in creative risk taking is a fantastic way to help fuel the creative process. By being open to new ideas and rewarding risk takers, companies can encourage staff to think creatively without fear of failure.
Surveys – and acting on them – boosting morale is through surveys on employees’ thoughts and feedback of the company. Whilst it may seem simple, when people feel included they are more content, involved, and productive. Virgin regularly asks its employees for input and a small number of suggestions are implemented every year. In one survey employees gave suggestions on improving the office working environment to make it more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Support creativity through wellbeing
So while many of us are still in a certain state of limbo with working from home, hybrid working, and a partial workplace return, employers can get creative themselves to ensure innovation (and in turn wellbeing) does not take a sizeable hit. Some extra thought and planning around creativity is needed: When are the best times to bring teams together? What can work online? How can days be better structured to help employees get their creative juices flowing? One answer lies within employee wellbeing – support that and your employees are more likely to continue to be creative, regardless of location.