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If you’re of a creative disposition you know how frustrating creative block can be. It can be maddening when that elusive spark of inspiration just refuses to present itself and you can spend hours trying to ignite an infuriatingly damp squib. It can take time to build and nurture that flame until it’s a roaring fire of creativity and productivity that sees you burn through your work with gusto. You likely also know how infuriating it can be when your employer and your workspace are less than conducive to the creative process. Likewise if you’re an employer for whom creativity is a commodity that you must harness and monetize for the sake of your business it can be equally madenning trying to think of ways in which you can make your workplace as nurturing of the creative process as possible.
The marriage of creativity with commerce can be an undeniably shaky one that is prone to snags and rough patches that can lead to frustration and resentment on both the part of the management and the creative. While there’s no denying that creatives must be productive and professional in their attitude and demeanour there are nonetheless steps that all employers can take to create a harmonious and creatively fecund working environment…
Creative minds draw inspiration from a range of sources, especially those for whom their creativity lies in a visual realm (i.e. graphic artists and designers). There are numerous ways in which an enterprising boss can tweak their workspace to incorporate inspiring imagery that might just spark that creative fire. While it’s easy for overhead conscious entrepreneurs to see things like office art as an unnecessary frivolity, you never know how the investments you make today may inspire your creative team’s work tomorrow. Wall art, sculptures and even commercial carpets can make your workspace more visually inspiring and provide a spark of inspiration when the creative well runs dry.
A relaxed approach
Fear is one of the most efficient dampeners of creativity (and productivity in general) that there is. Creative minds rarely work well under pressure, especially when it comes from an overworked and overstressed boss hovering over them. In order to get the best out of your employees sometimes it’s necessary to take a step back and afford them a little flexibility while imposing deadlines to ensure that they deliver the goods on time.
Don’t be afraid to let them work from home if necessary or even play fast and loose with their working hours. Most creative minds work best when they’re allowed to set themselves free on their own terms. For this reason you should also be liberal in granting rest breaks for all staff but especially those working in creative fields. Our psychology and physiology are both at their best when allowed regular periods to rest and recharge.
Fuel the mind
As well as rest, your employees minds (and bodies) need fuel to function optimally and the foods and drinks that populate most vending machines are far from conducive to this. Most employers have vending machines chock full of fatty, sugary and salty processed foods. Not only are these of little nutritional value, they create peaks and troughs of blood sugar that result in a spontaneous burst of energy followed by a grinding come down. This results in sluggishness, headaches and low mood; hardly fertile ground for the creative process. If you’re serious about nurturing creativity and productivity in your workforce you should ensure that they have unlimited access to water (a hydrated brain is a productive brain) and the foods that will ensure that they remain at their best throughout the day.
This includes complex carbohydrates which release slowly like those found in whole grains. Monounsaturated fats like those found in avocados which will help stabilize appetite and facilitate brain function are also important. Leafy greens like spinach, kale and savoy cabbage contain the antioxidant zeaxanthin which improves the brain’s processing speed as well as aiding memory and recall.
Build a team mentality
No employee should feel like an island, and while many creative types tend to be quiet and introspective by nature, an open and collaborative atmosphere and team mentality are often very fertile grounds for creative thought. Help to tear down the barriers (physical, psychological and cultural) with regular team meetings and activities as well as shared workspace within which creative groups can brainstorm. Being able to bounce ideas off each other and work collaboratively is not only conducive to productivity but it makes for a convivial and cheerful working environment.