7 Elements of a Highly Creative Work Environment

By Robert Half on June 28, 2017 at 8:45am

Want to boost recruitment and retention? Make sure you offer your employees a fun, supportive and highly creative work environment.

Many creative professionals are right-brainers who see the world a little differently than others, and they often invest themselves emotionally in their jobs. So, their work environment needs to be an engaging one that allows them to stretch their skills, find inspiration, do their best work and enjoy the creative process.

What does the ideal creative work environment look like? As you probably guessed, there's not one right answer. But if you toured the offices of some of the most successful creative agencies and in-house teams, you'd likely notice some commonalities.

So, what might those commonalities be, and how can you use them to establish a space and culture that fuels employee fulfillment and innovation? Consider the following seven elements of a highly creative work environment.

For creatives, the ideal workplace …

1. Celebrates people and their work

The greatest driver of happiness for marketing and creative professionals is doing worthwhile work, according to new research published in The Secrets of the Happiest Companies and Employees, a guide from our company that you can use to increase happiness in your office. The second most important factor for creatives was feeling appreciated for their work. 

Be sure your staff feels valued, and regularly remind individual employees about how essential their contributions are to helping the team achieve its big-picture goals.

A supportive work environment is also one where success is lauded. For instance, does your office have a "brag board" where employees can post work they're proud of? Are employees recognized for going above and beyond? Do you encourage team outings to toast a big completed job? These are low-cost, easy-to-implement approaches you can adopt immediately.

2. Reflects employees' interests 

Creative staffers often come from different backgrounds, possess different skills and pursue a variety of activities outside work. Whether you allow employees to bring their dogs to the office, tackle individual or team-focused side projects, or express their personal fashion style, the ideal work environment celebrates this diversity and lets creatives be themselves and feel at home.

3. Encourages collaboration

Creative work rarely happens in a vacuum; it thrives on collaboration and the cross-pollination of ideas. The ideal office space is set up to make it easy for team members to work together, with ample communal space for people to meet up and swap ideas.

4. Respects communication 

Nothing throttles the creative process like the failure to communicate, such as managers who don't deliver full information about a project to the team or employees who fear being honest with leaders. In a work environment where top-quality creative work and openness are valued, even difficult conversations and critiques are welcome. Maintain an open-door policy and keep the communication lines clear.

5. Sets a tone of risk-taking 

Many creative professionals feel their firms or departments don’t take enough creative risks. But risk is an inherent part of a creative process that's intended to produce brilliant new ideas. Don’t micromanage employees, but do empower them to make bold creative decisions, and push them to take smart risks when appropriate.

6. Fosters innovation 

The most prolific idea generators are those who understand the importance of refilling their creative wells. They know that creativity stems from gathering a wide variety of experiences, engaging with an array of people and making connections between existing ideas to create something new and impactful. So the ideal work environment sparks inspiration by encouraging staffers to get out of the office to explore and even pursue creative passion projects.

7. Promotes learning and teaching 

In the optimal work environment, employees are encouraged to grow by learning from their colleagues and taking on projects that introduce them to new techniques or skills. Whether it’s paying for employees to go to industry conferences or allowing them to attend training events during work hours, make sure you support employees in their professional development pursuits — and then ask them to share what they learn with their colleagues.

Considering how much time you and your employees spend on the job, it’s important that the work environment where everyone spends those hours is filled with positive energy and happiness. These seven tips can guide you in creating the ideal creative workplace!

Does your office design fuel inspiration? Check out our post on creative workspace solutions now!

More posts on establishing a creative work environment:

7 Ideas for Changing Company Culture and Attracting Top-Notch Creatives
Funny Stuff: 5 Tips on Office Humour
Do Emojis Belong in the Workplace?

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