Cultivate Creativity and Fun in the Workplace…Priceless

Cultivate Creativity and Fun in the Workplace…Priceless

Imagine yourself working in a place bursting with energy and vitality. The people around you are happy all day long. They love what they are doing and are committed to your vision and mission. They are laughing and smiling.

Creativity and imagination are key to the success of organizations today. In stimulating, fun and playful cultures, employees are more productive. They have 51% lower turnover (Gallup) They have 125% less burnout (HBR), 43% more productivity (Hay Group) and 33% more profitability (Gallup).                                                                                googles-workspace19

Here are five ways to make your workplace more creative and fun.

  1. Invest in imagination. Allocate time to day dream and play with possibilities. At Google employees are given one day a week to work on a project of their choice that doesn’t fall within their formal job description. Google reports that they get many ideas that can be applied to the rest of their organizations’ core work.
  2. Have fun. Get the office together and have a white board scribble and doodle contest, dress up as your favorite superhero or crank up the music and dance and watch how the creativity begins to flow. Children laugh an average of 400 times a day and that number drops to only 15 times a day by the time people reach age 35.  Laughter releases endorphins which make you feel good. Laughing increases oxygen intake, thereby replenishing and invigorating cells. It also increases the pain threshold, boosts immunity, and relieves stress. When you are less stressed you are more creative.
  3. Cultivate curiosity.  Regardless of where or how we work, the best creative minds are the most curious.  One of my favorite movies growing up was Auntie Mame. Mame implores her young nephew Patrick to avoid dullness by “soaking up life, down to your toes.”  Take a class. What have you always been interested in learning? Try a new recipe or restaurant. Share it with your colleagues.
  4. Do your brainstorming offsite. Go to the amusement park and take a ride on the roller coaster or get in a hot air balloon. Go to a museum and see things from a new perspective.
  5. Design an inspiring and flexible work space. Google again had been a leader in this arena.  Employees glide around the building on razor scooters and climb ladders between floors. They design their own workspace with treadmills and tinker toys while writing on walls. You can start small and rearrange the furniture. Hang art work on the walls or cover them with black board paint. Bring in fun things such as Nerf balls, a basketball and hoop, or party blowers.

One of my favorite places to go for meetings is Catalyst Ranch in Chicago. Nestled in a building that dates to the 1880’s in the old meatpacking district,  there are 6 rooms all furnished with vintage furniture, ethnic artwork, toys, books, magazines, colorful walls and filled with natural light.                                                                   catalyst ranch

The creator is Eva Niewiadomski, who I had the pleasure of interviewing for The Winning Adventure.

“When I started Catalyst Ranch in 2002, it was with the thought that there was a different way to enable creative thinking. There are better processes and better outputs versus sitting in a hotel room or a conference room back at the office and trying to force people to come up with better ways to do things or to think differently when you are constantly in that same sort of space. I had created some of those sorts of different spaces when I was at Quaker Oats,  a couple of  innovation hallways and a creativity room as of sideline to my day job.  I decorated my desk, I had a lot of art  work around, people loved coming and having meetings at my desk. There was a different energy in how we approach things because there was a different physical environment. Many people take for granted the importance of physical space. They don’t really understand how important that element is in enabling better things to come out at the end of the day whether it be you are training someone or whether it is a strategic planning meetings or whether it’s a product ideation. If you can help people’s brains engage in a different way, then you are going to come out with better results than if you just sat them in a plain conference room and say “Okay, now I want you to come up with a whole new process” or “I want you to learn something” and before you know it, people are zoning out.” For more information and an opportunity to play with slinky, pipe cleaners and play doh go to http://www.catalystranch.com/

Striving to create a fun, exciting, dynamic workplace where imagination, curiosity, collaboration and play is encouraged should be the goal of any company. Looking at creativity as a most valuable asset and treasure has been embraced in the corporate world so eloquently by Zappos’ core value “create fun and a little weirdness.

Rae Luskin is the owner of The Winning Adventure
http://thewinningadventure.com  Author of two books : Art From My Heart and the recently released Learning from Failure: 11 Sure Ways to Turn Your Worst Failures Into Your Biggest Success. Rae is known for her ability to make creativity and innovation easy for anyone to achieve.