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Combatting Functional Fixedness at Work Through Creativity

Updated: Apr 26, 2021

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

  1. Creativity Builds Better Teamwork

    1. 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.

    2. Many unique ideas come from just one person but they are molded by a team to become fully formed.

  2. Creativity Improves the Ability to Attract and Retain Employees

    1. When creativity is encouraged employees are more content with their jobs and are committed to remaining loyal to the company.

  3. Creativity Increases Problem-Solving

    1. 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

Want more practical resources to promote mindfulness, play, and well-being in the workplace. Try these!

“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.



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