For just a moment, think back to what the workplace must have been like for Baby Boomers. They’re some of the most strong-minded people we know, but Millennials are on a constant mission to change the workplace they left behind at retirement. We’re trying to rekindle the flames of producivity that burn out so easily after prolonged periods of screentime. In order to do that, we have to reinvent not just the way we work, but the approach we take to our daily tasks.
Generations prior were all about in-office structure and hierarchal management. The new generation and those that follow are all about working remotely and a matrix organizational structure. The aim is to exercise the brain by placing your people in new environments and with different teams that allow them to build and bounce new ideas off one another. Inspiration doesn’t come out of nowhere and it certainly doesn’t come from a white-lined notepad that reads “to-do” across its header. People need creativity. They need to feel an electric surge of motivation that stems from an initiative or project that can be personally molded in a unique way.
Basically, we need to continue evolving work environments that spark creativity and therefore, produce higher levels of productivity. Give your people a burst of inspiration by reinventing the old and progressing what’s new:
Design specifically for the mind
Open floor plans were once regarded as a nuisance. Employers assumed that deconstructing cubicles in place of shared tabletops would create more distraction as opposed to higher productivity but over time, we’ve seen the opposite prove to be true. Humans are inherently social. We feed off the energy of others, so much to the point that “good vibes only” is hung on most Millennials’ apartment walls and splashed across social media profiles. At work, cross-functional collaboration is an absolute must and it would tough to collaborate with your colleagues if a cubicle wall was blocking your airspace.
It’s all in the design, though. Feeding off those stellar vibes your work wife gives you probably won’t be enough to get your creative juices flowing if the two of you are staring at white walls all day. Open floor plans are essentially the perfect outlet for ciphering creativity when designed properly. However, the design needs to accommodate and remain flexible to every type of work style, even ones that aren’t social at the core.
For connecting with colleagues, open floor plans can induce more aspirational collaboration that comes easier, especially when the space itself includes group rest areas decorated with colors and quirky designs. For those who identify as introverts and need a quiet space to get things done, meetings rooms that exude a “zen” feeling should be curated for self-motivation and calm privacy. Regardless, the shapes and objects in your workspace should serve as focal points, and the atmosphere should provide resources that are applicable to daily conveniences, such as try wearable gadgets or workstations with multiple screen monitors.
Make it rain when brainstorming
Sitting around in a proverbial “think tank” is a more traditional form of brainstorming; it unintentionally prompts uninspired employees to throw out aimless ideas without much effort or strategy. We know how it difficult it can be to “get creative” when put on the spot, which is why outsourcing is sometimes the appropriate option to utilize. However, incepting a game-changing strategy that ups your up business strategy is entirely possible when the appropriate amount of time is allocated to tasks that get your people’s “gears grinding.”
To encourage a creative thought process requires bringing activities to the conference room table… literally. Brainstorming sessions should include more writing activities that point your people in a general direction. Start with brain teasers and word association games that mobilize their brains, allowing them to take control of their own neuroplasticity. Very quickly, they’ll realize what they’re capable of when inspired and enjoying themselves without added performance anxiety. It’s important to acknowledge that creativity is a process and as long as your people remain productive in their pursuit, the cycle of creativity → productivity will keep circling back over time.
Take meetings to the next level
We all know how it feels to leave a meeting and think “wow, that really could have been an email” (or in bob’s case, a Shoutout!). Meetings in general, quickly lose their flavor and go stale after the first 10 minutes, which leads to selective hearing among disgruntled employees. Turning meetings into an engaging event that inspires day-long productivity is incredibly achievable. In fact, making your meetings intriguing with some creative solutions and initiatives is quite simple to do when up to the task. The monotony will dissipate and none of your people will bring up that whole email “quick fix” again.
Clearly, company and team meetings still need to prioritize news and updates. However, make meetings an opportunity for your people to get to know one another with personal updates, ice-breakers, or a special tradition you create yourselves; it could be a stand-up comedy segment where people share funny stories… if that’s what you want! Move the meeting outside on beautiful days or sometimes, suggest stand-up meetings so you can imply they’ll be back in their previous work groove soon. Getting creative with your meeting-style means incorporating creativity into the actual occurrence. If you set a creative precedent, a contagious artistic flare will flow course throughout the rest of the day.
Innovative ways to boost productivity are compromised of creative pursuits that drive your people’s motivation to do well. Aside from increased productivity levels, creative outlets and strategies of expression that improve work performance will walk hand in hand with reduced stress levels and enhanced team collaboration. Workplace creativity is the new perk that most HR professionals and managers are discovering they need to offer their people, and there are several ways to manifest it; in your office design, at meetings, and by placing a pen in the palm of your people’s hands.