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How Your Workspace Can Promote Creativity

“Sometimes a creative environment affects what happens within it.”

-Peter Gabriel

If being creative is in your job description, you owe it to yourself to have a workspace that inspires you. This is especially true for advertising and marketing pros. Whether you’re a designer, account manager or HR coordinator, each role has to hatch creative solutions to unique problems. That’s why you need to surround yourself with images, sounds and even smells that inspire the creativity within you.

How Your Environment Can Boost Creativity

Studies show that around 70dB of ambient noise can distract the mind enough to make way for more creative thoughts. Which means, if you’re in need of some big ideas, a coffee-shop approach (light music, conversation) is better than library-like silence.

What about what you see around the office? Can certain objects inspire creative ideas? One psychological study revealed that the physical embodiment of metaphors can boost creativity. It’s all because of a concept called “embodied cognition.” Seriously. In one of the experiments, participants who did a creative task in close proximity to a box (“think outside the box” *wink*) performed better than those inside a box, or a plain room. Science rules, huh?

Whatever Works

Some creatives, naturally, have unusual spaces where they get work done. Stephen King wrote his first novel at a makeshift desk nestled between a washer and dryer. Maybe bouncing back and forth during a spin cycle jostled a few brilliant ideas loose.

Creative Spaces at IN

At IN, we’ve worked hard to create an inspiring space for everyone at the office. And we’re always looking for ways to freshen things up.

The photo wall in our designer/writer room changes at least once a season. We always encourage our team think of new ways we can update it with food-related images. Throughout late August and September, we filled it with Minnesota State Fair food pics. I seem to recall working corn dogs into copy a lot for some reason. Not sure why.

Sometimes a slight change in perspective can help. Our sit/stand desks aren’t just a great way to add a little bit of healthy standing to our routines—they’re a great way to break up the monotony of sitting in the same position all day.

There are so many good ideas at IN, you’d think something was in the air—and you’d be right! We’ve got essential oil diffusers around the office to help add some inspirational aromas. And all winter long we’ve got our humidifiers cranked to help keep that cold, dry air from making a dent.

Last but not least, our kitchen is a major source of inspiration. We are a food agency, after all. From Monday status meeting to Friday Happy Hour, the kitchen is our favorite place to gather, strategize and concept. Within the drawers and cabinets there are plenty of great ingredients and tools at our disposal, but also glass cups and stainless steel utensils that make us feel at home. You can call it a kitchen—or you can think of it as a big oven where we bake our big ideas. Up to you!

Do What Works

At the end of the day, follow your creative gut. If a space filled with blaring music, beautiful posters and knick-knacks from your last seven vacations is what inspires you, keep it up. If you do your best work between the washer and dryer, don’t stop now! Like the creative work you do every day, there are endless ways to create your ideal environment.

What’s unique about your creative space? Do you light it with seven lamps? Blare math metal through oversized headphones? Leave a comment below to let us know.

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