Six ways to boost creativity when working in an office

Multiethnic female colleagues chat during coffee break

Making the shift from working alone to working alongside colleagues can be challenging, but it can also be an opportunity to think afresh

For many people, there is now a requirement to return to a central office – at least part-time. While many of us won’t relish the return of the 6am alarm, corporate clothing or morning commute, it’s worth remembering there are benefits to being in a dedicated work environment.

Tapping into the collective energy that a workplace brings can help you shine and be more productive. Here are six ways to supercharge your creativity once you’re back amongst your colleagues, taking inspiration from some of the world’s most successful people…

1. Have informal face-to-face interactions

Apple founder Steve Jobs once said: “Innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10.30pm at night with a new idea.” After months of isolation, it’s critical to start engaging in-person with people we work with, as well as making new connections.

The best creative ideas won’t come out of a corporate meeting room, though – they’ll likely emerge over an Aperol spritz at a street-side bar or over coffee at your local flexspace, when you have a chance to catch up with colleagues in a more relaxed way.

2. Be radical in your thinking

In the words of artist Pablo Picasso, “The chief enemy of creativity is good sense” – which can be taken to mean that new ideas don’t come from thinking in a conventional, traditional way.

The world has been turned upside down by the pandemic, so now is the time to start questioning preconceived ways of operating. Apply this to your own projects and bring it up in strategy meetings, encouraging others to do the same.

3. Break ranks

“When it comes to creative inspiration, job titles and hierarchy are meaningless,” says Ed Catmull, author of Creativity, Inc. Spending time listening to people of all levels of seniority – whether an intern or the CEO – can be incredibly valuable.

Too often people allow themselves to be siloed with others of ‘equal’ status or are too intimidated to arrange a meeting with someone ‘higher up’ in a company. Avoid this at all costs – there is something to learn from everyone.

What’s more, it’s worth remembering that, to a junior colleague, you might be someone to look up to. Supporting and mentoring someone who’s not so far along in their career can be incredibly satisfying, and a learning experience of a completely different kind.

4. Nurture mental wellbeing

Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post, said: “Nothing kills creativity faster than burnout.” Being back in an office can ignite negative feelings of competition and ‘presenteeism’, which can be a shock to the system after working from home.

Make sure you don’t get sucked into working late, participate in banter that turns bitchy or pretend you’re OK when you’re not. If your work culture feels toxic, get out or force change.

5. Identify enjoyment

“Motivation comes from working on things we care about,” pronounced Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg. “It also comes from working with people we care about.” It’s hard to be creative when generating revenue or meeting deadlines feels like the top priority, but spending time on projects you enjoy or with people that make you feel good could spark the next great idea.

6. Invest in your environment

Tom Kelley, author of Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All, advises: “If you want a team of smart, creative people to do extraordinary things, don’t put them in a drab, ordinary space.” If you’re the boss, don’t underestimate the power of an office revamp.

If you don’t have the clout to invest in a truckload of Eames chairs and designer pot plants, do what you can to make your desk a place of refuge and inspiration. A well-chosen ceramic mug, a stack of thought-provoking books (such as Tim Ferriss’ Tools of Titans), an orchid and some Leuchtturm notebooks can be really revitalising.

All Spaces locations are designed with style, as well as productivity, in mind – so you’ll find plenty to inspire at your local centre, wherever you live.

Looking for a creative workspace for your business? Discover Spaces

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