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Build Your Career Office Life

Want to Inspire Creativity? Give Employees Their Own Space

Want to Inspire Creativity? Give Employees Their Own Space
Credit: RawPixel/Shutterstock

Company executives and their employees disagree on the type of office space that's best for sparking creativity, new research finds.

A study from the staffing firm The Creative Group revealed that employees prefer secluded spaces when trying to come up with new ideas, whereas company leaders believe open spaces are best for innovation.

Specifically, 36 percent of employees said a private office is most conducive to encouraging creativity, compared with just 18 percent of executives. Conversely, 36 percent of executives think open-concept work environments are best for on-the job innovation, compared with only 26 percent of employees.

But company leaders and their employees do see eye to eye when it comes to the worst place for inspiring creativity: Just 4 percent of both groups believe working from outside the office is the best environment for encouraging innovation. [See Related Story: Smarter Seating? How Your Office Neighbor Affects Your Work]

Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group, said that when designing office spaces, it is important to understand that different tasks call for different work environments.

"Office design should be closely tailored to an organization's needs and a team's primary duties," Domeyer said in a statement. "The main goal for employers should be to create a space where staff members feel comfortable and engaged, and can perform at their best."

The Creative Group offered four tips to help employers create a more stimulating work environment:

  1. Designate creativity areas. Employers should consider creating areas around the office designed specifically for brainstorming or spontaneous meetings. These spaces should include a dry-erase board that can be used to quickly jot down ideas and various industry-related publications.
  2. Offer private spaces. With more and more organizations turning to open-concept floor plans in an attempt to boost collaboration, it is important to also offer areas where employees have some alone time so that they can focus on their task at hand. Build a few stations where employees can work on their own without having to deal with distractions.
  3. Create a mood board. Mood boards, which are hung for everyone to see, are where employees can post content they find interesting and think will help others draw inspiration. In addition, employees should be encouraged to post photos of things they might want to reference for future projects.
  4. Get out of the office. Sometimes, getting outside the office can spark creativity. Consider taking your team to a park or a café; you might be surprised by how a change of scenery can spark new ideas.

The study was based on surveys of more than 400 U.S. advertising and marketing executives, as well as 1,000 U.S. workers employed in office environments.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.