Work is such as big part of our waking lives, it is worth considering the space we do it in. With so many councils moving offices, or looking to implement new ways of working such as activity-based work spaces, hot-desking or using technology to enable connectivity on-the-road, it is a wonderful opportunity to think about where we work from and what individuals and teams need from their work spaces to work better. Check out the following article on how to boost innovation in your office with small changes to the working environment.
Dr Amantha Imber is the Founder of Inventium (www.inventium.com.au), an Australian innovation consultancy. Her latest book, The Innovation Formula, tackles how organisations can create a culture where innovation thrives. Amantha can be contacted at email@example.com
- Bring in nature
Of all the ways to change your physical environment for the better, those involving nature have received the most attention. Ruth Atchley, from the University of Kansas, and her colleagues studied a group of people who were going on a four-day hike without any access to technology. Half of the hikers were asked to complete a creative problem-solving task prior to their hike, and the other half were asked to complete it on day four of the hike. People who had experienced four days’ immersion in nature, without any technological distractions, performed 50 per cent better in the creative problem-solving task.
- Turn up the background noise
Ravi Mehta, from the University of British Columbia, found that exposing people to a medium noise level (70 decibels – or the equivalent to what you would hear in a café or city street) significantly increased performance on a creative problem solving task. This level of noise acts as a mild distraction, which fosters creativity.
- Bring in both warm and cool colours (especially green)
Several researchers from the University of Munich brought a group of 65 people into the lab to complete a creative problem-solving task. However, before engaging in the task, some people were shown a green login screen while others were shown a white screen. The researchers found that those seeing a green screen performed about 20 per cent better on the creative thinking task. Similar results have been found in other research for warm colours. The message is clear – don’t settle for beige and instead, bring in some colour.
Often, little thought goes into our physical surrounds. By starting to make small changes to the environment you work in every day, you can make a big difference to your creative output.