7 key factors to identify a highly creative work environment

By Robert Half on 18th November 2015

Many professionals are right-brainers and tend to require some form of creativity in their jobs. It helps boost your career prospects, as it encourages you to excel in your job when working in a creative work environment. So your work environment needs to be an engaging, supportive space that allows you to stretch, do your best work and enjoy the process.

What does the ideal work environment look like? As you probably guessed, there's not one right answer. But if you toured the offices of some of the most successful creative teams, you'd likely notice some commonalities.

If you're evaluating your current position or searching for a new job, consider these seven elements of a highly creative work environment.

Signs of a creative work environment:

1. Reflects employees' interests 

Professionals often come from different backgrounds, have different skills and pursue a range of activities outside work. Whether employees can bring their dogs to the office or sit comfortably when reading the latest digital trends, the ideal work environment celebrates this diversity and lets you be creatives.

2. Embraces collaboration

Successful innovations rarely happens in a vacuum; it thrives on collaboration and the cross-pollination of ideas. The ideal work environment is set up to make it easy for professionals to work together, with an open floor plan and plenty of communal space for people to sit together.

3. Encourages learning and teaching 

In the optimal work environment, employees are encouraged to grow by learning from their colleagues and taking on projects that introduce them to new techniques or skills. Even non-managerial professionals can develop leadership capabilities by shepherding teams or projects.

4. Respects communication

Nothing throttles a creative process like failure to communicate, such as managers who don't deliver full information about a project to the team or employees who fear being honest with leaders. In an open work environment, even difficult conversations are welcome, and communication lines are clear.

5. Sets a culture of innovation

According to our IT innovation report many professionals are attracted to companies whose work environment encourages creative and innovative ideas. This is an inherent part of a creative process that's intended to produce new ideas and solutions.

6. Fosters creativity

The most prolific innovative thinkers and idea generators are those who understand the importance of refreshing their minds. They know that creativity stems from gathering a wide range of experiences, engaging with diverse people and making connections between existing ideas to create something new. So the ideal work environment sparks inspiration. How? By encouraging employees to form brainstorming groups, get out of the office and explore, and pursue personal interests.

7. Encourages feedback

Does your office have a culture of asking for feedback where employees can offer advice? Where professionals can share and comment on projects in progress? Are employees recognised for going above and beyond? A supportive work environment is one where success is lauded.

Consider how many hours a week you spend at your job. Make sure you are in a creative work environment where you spend those hours filled with energy, support and colleagues you enjoy. If it isn’t, then perhaps it’s time to consider a career change.

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