Following the release of a new report on when UK office workers feel most creative, innovation funding specialist MPA Group gives a guide to boosting your productivity below.
Kevin McIntosh is head of design at Chameleo n Business Interiors. The company specialises in commercial office design and focuses on creating spaces which encourage collaboration and creativity. Kevin believes in the value of green space: “The number one office trend is a move to go greener with elements such as living walls – a trend known as ‘biophilic design’. Studies at Exeter University show that biophilic design can boost creativity and increase productivity by up to 15%, just by having a few house plants in an office space. It is also proven to reduce stress, blood pressure levels, and heart rate.”
Set time aside
Vic Ulfik, operations manager at MPA Group, commented on making sure your team is setting aside time to focus on new ideas: “You’ll never truly realise the creative potential of your workforce unless you give them the opportunity to push boundaries. Make sure you set aside time purely for research and development, where the focus is on innovation and progress, rather than simply performing everyday tasks. Give employees the chance to push themselves and develop their knowledge, as doing so will benefit both themselves and your business. The government’s R&D Tax Credits scheme which rewards businesses investing in research and development can provide the much-needed cash some companies may need to invest in their employees.”
James Lloyd-Townshend, is CEO at Frank Recruitment Group, a global niche technology recruiter that has been connecting businesses to workers for nearly 15 years. Lloyd-Townshend discusses the importance of encouraging independent thinking: “In any business, good teamwork is vital for long-term success, but in my experience encouraging a healthy amount of autonomy across your organisation fosters the kind of confidence and creativity that a business needs to grow and truly compete in its industry."
“I’ve always felt that it’s better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission, and that philosophy inspires our employees to claim their independence," he adds. "It’s important that senior management creates a space where every member of the company feels comfortable sharing their ideas. That’s how you as an organisation can push the boundaries of what’s happening in your industry.”
Sue Andrews, an human resources (HR) and business consultant at KIS Finance with 25 years of experience in the HR sector, has supported business leaders in a variety of industries to design and deliver workforce strategies. She believes incentivisation is key in inducing creativity: “Encourage creativity by recognising and rewarding those who find ways to bring creativity and innovation to life."
“Monetary reward is one route but investing in them as an individual, through further development opportunities, will have a longer-term impact on their motivation,” Andrews adds.
Steven Garrod, MD at MPA Group, discusses the importance of failure when it comes to driving creativity: “As Winston Churchill famously said, ‘Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm’. Failure is part and parcel of business life and unless you and your employees accept this, you may discourage risk-taking and creativity. Treat every attempt as an opportunity to learn and as another step towards your ultimate goal. A great incentive for this is in R&D tax credits, which almost rewards failure allowing companies to make a claim even if their project is unsuccessful, so the fear of failure shouldn’t dissuade businesses from innovation.”
The UK is a hub of innovation, but without effective work environments and schedules, employers might be inadvertently restricting the creativity of their staff.
Allowing employees to be creative has numerous benefits to companies. A more innovative environment helps staff feel more comfortable and motivated, which can lead to the development of ideas and the sort of progress that keeps businesses at the forefront of their industries. This alone will typically lead to increased revenue and market value, but there are further financial incentives available for innovating companies.