By Kathryn Johnston, Client Relationship Coordinator, Wellness Works Canada
Life is a balancing act. There’s no doubt that when we take on more than we can handle or are unable to meet our physical/emotional needs, stress begins to manifest. Fulfilling those needs has become especially difficult with the added pressure and uncertainty of the pandemic.
Greatly impacted by COVID-19 is our ability to socialize face-to-face with friends and family. We’ve been forced to quickly adjust to new norms, and spend the majority of our time at home, making work one of our main social settings. Many are feeling the weight of these restrictions, which is why workplaces must incorporate ways to keep their employee's minds active, happy, and motivated. How does one achieve this while following COVID-19 protocols? By providing employees with opportunities to express their creativity both inside and out of the workplace.
To be creative is to let the mind wander freely, welcoming discoveries and/or moments of self-expression/creation as they naturally present themselves. It enables us to be truly present, centered, and grounded, without the fear of judgment, or external pressures to act in a certain manner. If individuals are unable to express themselves and come to new epiphanies on their own, they are more prone to feeling apathetic, unmotivated, and less productive. By rewarding creativity and inviting new ideas to the workplace, there will be a positive shift in employee mood, which in turn positively affects your work culture, and spikes a growth in innovation.
“It is creativity that keeps your business moving forward with fresh new ideas and innovation. This encompasses more than new products or services, it includes streamlining efficiency and productiveness” - Cheryl Viola
Creativity Builds Better Teamwork
Creativity inspires employees to work with each other. The creative process encourages collaboration. Businesses need to encourage the mindset of continuous learning encouraging employees to seek new information, knowledge, and new ways to do things.
Many unique ideas come from just one person but they are molded by a team to become fully formed.
Creativity Improves the Ability to Attract and Retain Employees
When creativity is encouraged employees are more content with their jobs and are committed to remaining loyal to the company.
Creativity Increases Problem-Solving
With the ability to think creatively and outside of the box, employees are more likely to come up with unique and innovative solutions to obstacles they encounter. This eagerness to solve problems can lead to new ways to accomplish tasks and adds to a more efficiently run business.
Ways to Spark Creativity in the Workplace
Challenge employees to test their creativity and collaboration skills through team-based contests. Here are a few examples.
Have a wide-open whiteboard with plenty of markers available for employees to brainstorm ideas or have a channel in Slack or any other instant messaging system you use with employees working remotely.
Get to know what your employees do outside of work and encourage them to make time for their hobbies.
If working from home, encourage your team to step away from the screen and go for a walk during their breaks or have virtual meetings outside!
Provide a stimulating atmosphere. Consider the following elements:
Encourage employees to get in the habit of self-reflection check-ins.
This exercise helps them to focus on what they’ve achieved, as well as what’s coming up next and helps inspire them to see things differently.
Create time to play
Offer coloring sheets, puzzles, exercises, play fun music.
Want more practical resources to promote mindfulness, play, and well-being in the workplace. Try these!
Mental Health First Aid Kits: they include breathing exercises, resilience tips, colouring sheets, mental health resources, fidget toys, and more!
Get an employer membership. An expert will help assess, transform and evaluate your journey towards a healthy, performing work culture based on your unique needs.
Give me a Break: how to use recreation and breaks to fuel productivity
“If you and I swap a dollar, you and I still each have a dollar. If you and I swap an idea, you and I have two ideas each.” By openly sharing ideas and work, a team’s creative output is exponentially more than the sum of the creative outputs of all the individual team members” - Peter A. Gloor
About the Author: Kathryn Johnson
Kathryn is in her last year of the BA in Recreation, Sport, and Tourism program at the University of Alberta, completing her practicum as a Strategic Partner Lead with Wellness Works Canada. Outside of school, she is pursuing her passion for music by working as a freelance singer/songwriter for clients internationally and sharing covers and original music with others through her social media platforms.
Throughout her practicum, she has developed a deeper passion for health and wellness; she is a firm believer that the wellness of our nation begins in the heart of our organizations. Kathryn hopes to use the health promotion skills obtained from her practicum to help create a strong initiative around health and wellness in the music industry.