Is Your Workplace Fueling or Sapping Creativity?

Is Your Workplace Fueling or Sapping Creativity?

Architect's office from 1940's

Being productive and creative are integral to our work, and how we set up our work environment can either help or hinder our effectiveness. A recent article by Drake Baer describes what many of us intuitively know about fluorescent lighting for example. Natural light helps keeps us alert, while fluorescents sap our energy, not to mention tweeking color samples. The article goes on to include temperature as another factor in keeping the efficient work juices flowing. Workers made more mistakes in colder office temperatures.

Rather work from home? Despite what the CEO of Yahoo! might have to say about teleworking, the truth is that more and more people are working remotely. Virtual meetings are more commonplace than water coolers, and Steelcase Inc., the same folks behind the modern cubicle, are building state of the art virtual meeting spaces that look and feel like cafes and living rooms. Whether you work from home or the office, there are a few reasons why you may rather work from a coffe shop from time to time, including just to change things up or meet new people.

Much is said about the serendipitous meeting of people in the workplace as a generator of new ideas, but it is best not to underestimate the power of working alone. An article by Cliff Kuang refutes the group brainstorming process, and sites studies that show that subjects working alone trying to solve complex puzzels came up with twice as many ideas as when they worked in groups.

Overall the takehome message seems to be that we should design the workplace the way we would design a pocket park – keep it flexible, with lots of opportunities for chance interactions as well as places to escape. Changing things up keeps things fresh and exciting, all good news for staying productive and generating new ideas.



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