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How to Design a Creative Workplace

Creativity is a crucial part of the modern workplace. Whether to generate new ideas, develop better processes or devise innovative solutions to problems, creativity can push a business forward with its goals.

How to Design a Creative Workplace

A recent study by McKinsey found that businesses who prioritise creativity and innovation, outperform their peer firms in key financial metrics. IBM has found, that for 60% of CEOs creativity, is now the most important leadership quality for business success.

To develop a culture that fosters creativity, businesses must take a look at their environment and design the space accordingly.

Stir the Senses

Creative thinkers use their senses to stimulate their mind and spark the creative process. By incorporating design principles that stimulate senses, it can create an inspiring workplace.

Sight might have the biggest impact on creativity while working. What the eyes take in, has an effect on creativity and focus. While natural light has been found to have benefits on performance, a study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that dim lighting can help creative performance as darkness elicits a feeling of being unconstrained and triggers an explorative thought process. Designing areas with low lighting or the option to dim, to have a space for reflective thought, would be a welcome addition.

Lighting aside, the use of colours (studies show green nurtures creativity) and artwork has a powerful impact on employees. It can improve productivity and creativity and set the tone within the space. Dependent on the piece, artwork can offer moments of deep thought and consideration for employees, or offer a light-hearted moment of fun, both of which can inspire. When choosing artwork, businesses should consider its placement, the tone it will set, and, how it reflects their brand values.

Texture is a multi-sensory experience as it can be seen as well as felt. Touch can encourage new ways of creative thinking. Experimenting with texture and materials within the workplace should be considered. Architectural firm ECAA recently added an interesting reception desk made of cardboard. Using materials in innovative ways to create doors, walls or furniture can provoke creativity in the workplace.

Integrating Flexibility

Today’s most innovative workplaces embrace flexibility and mobility. Laptops and phones mean that employees no longer need an assigned desk. Anything can become a workspace, bean bags, sofas or even the floor.

Designing flexible spaces facilitate interaction and collaboration, which promote creativity. Choosing furniture that can be easily moved and reconfigured, to allow for spaces to adapt and transform to employees’ needs, is crucial.

While collaborative spaces are key to offering opportunities to share and develop ideas together, creative thinkers often need to focus on ideas before presenting. A workplace needs a distraction-free, quiet space where employees can explore ideas. Without both types of workspaces, employees may struggle to fully embrace their creative thoughts.


The famed design of tech giants’ workplaces has inspired innovative businesses to follow suit with creative and vibrant spaces. Adding fun elements that encourage play throughout the design can support employees to reach their peak creative potential. A study found that play in the workplace can ‘relieve stress, boost creativity, improve brain function, and improve our relationships with others.

Event planning company Red Frog based in Chicago have incorporated numerous play elements into their workspace. A climbing wall, lego conference table and treehouse with slide break out room are included. These unexpected elements have been enthusiastically welcomed by employees.

Smaller design elements, such as badminton or foosball tables can be cost-effective solutions offering similar benefits.

Encouraging and fostering creativity in the workplace is a win-win for everybody. Businesses benefit from the innovation that creative ideas can create, and employees are better able to do their jobs and express themselves.

Reach out to the Grant team if you would like to discuss designing a creative workplace. Our team can look at your space and provide ideas for creating an environment that will inspire your team.


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