The mundane, humdrum office cubicle is a place few workers dare to express creativity. Despite incessant research showing that creativity both increases the well-being of employees, and also elevates the standard of their work, it’s routinely beat-down in place of routine, order, tedium and staleness.
Despite (and in spite of) those shackles enforced from further up the chain, here are ten ways to creatively escape your cubicle monotony and bring some imaginative innovation and originality to those four walls each and every day.
Invent a Clever Workaround
Sick of routinely performing the same task over and over again? If you’re a technophile at work, try to find an elegant workaround to a boring problem by creating a macro or automated fuction that’ll get the job done for you (or at least save you some valuable minutes). On a Mac, you can create some nice workarounds using Keyboard Maestro (read our Keyboard Maestro review). If you use Google Drive, you can use IFTTT Integration. And on PC, you can use an automation tool like DoItAgain
Create Something Charming Yet Pragmatic
We’d never advocate idleness here at MakeUseOf, so I’m hardly advising you to rustle up a birthday card for your father whilst at the office, but why not bring some creativity to different aspects of your day job and create something charming that’s actually of use?
If you’re a dab-hand on Photoshop, put together a beautiful email signature that increases click through/response rates. If you’re more of a wordsmith, replace your boring email signature with some quirky, witty copy to make your colleagues smile.
Come Up With Office Organisation Hacks
In every office (probably in yours, too) there are certain inefficient systems that’re in place, and procedures that have to be followed that seem to be introduced just to drive us crazy. When you have a few spare minutes, brainstorm some revised procedures, processes and systems that’ll make everyone’s lives easier and help to make your organization run more efficiently.
Don’t forget to make an appointment with your manager to ensure your suggestions are implemented, or if you can get away with it, go ahead, be a hero and implement the changes yourself.
Make Use of Your Lunchbreak
Too many people complain that they just don’t have the time to do anything ‘creative’ during their work hours. But this doesn’t mean your day must be void of creativity altogether. During your lunchbreak, plan to do something creative that you know you’ll enjoy. Sketch something, start a blog and get writing, take a trip home and do some decorating, prune a bonsai tree. Whatever it is that gets your creative juices flowing, make some time for it.
Did you know that you can post to WordPress with an email, or use a WordPress plugin like Postie which has features not found in the default WordPress feature. And there’s always the trusty Microsoft tool — yes, you can blog with MS Word too. This looks just “write” for documenting the funny side of office life!
Reorganize Your Workspace
If you have mounds of paper in every nook, folders pressing against your elbows, overflowing trashcans, cables sprawling across the floor and PostIt notes galore pressing for your attention, make time in your schedule to get on top of the mess and think about the type of workspace that’ll work for you.
How can you organize your space to encourage you to work smarter, think more creatively and to reduce stress?
Are there any office accessories that will help you maintain your new office look? Whether you want to go all out and Feng Shui that desk, or simply go for a more minimalist approach, changing up the layout and organisation of your desk will free up your attention to feel more relaxed and creative at work (and hopefully at home, too).
Decorate Your Cubicle
Taking the example of organising your desk one step further, why not decorate your entire cubicle? Make that tiny box a statement of your personality. A place where you love to be. Maybe even a place for you to escape to. Whether you use photos of your family, posters, or even wallpaper, you should work on making your cubicle (a place where you’ll often spend 8+ hours per day) a place that’s yours.
Do Something to Make your Colleagues Happy
If you want to be pragmatic about it, a happy workforce is a productive workforce, but what’s better than going to work with the intention of making someone in the office happy that day? Draw up a fun poster, give out free hugs, bake a cake, buy a fun present, start a ‘random act of kindness‘ culture in the office.
Considering the title of this article, it’s a given that the more creative you are with this, the better. Don’t forget to let us know in the comments what ideas you come up with!
Start a Creativity List
You’ll likely have tons of ideas about how you want to be creative, but even if you only have a few, start a creativity list (on paper, your phone, in an email- wherever you like) and agree with yourself that you’ll add x new ideas to that list each and every day. Even the process of building this list is creative, and will give you a chance to exercise that creativity, let alone actually bringing each of these ideas to fruition!
Figure Out Non-Techy Solutions
Offices are relying more and more on tech-based solutions even for simple tasks. Take time-management, for example. Solving this issue is a struggle people are wrestling with daily. Organisations are spending billions trying to ensure thier employees manage their time effectively.
But why not come up with your own, simple, non-techy system that works just as well (if not better). Take for example, Justin Pot’s idea of using LEGO to manage your time better. In this sense, different color blocks represent different aspects of the Pomodoro time management technique, and provide a nifty way of keeping track of where you’re up to. There are a countless ways you can do this — the only limit is your imagination!
Talk About Creativity
When you’re at the water cooler, walking out of the office, or chatting over lunch, bring the topic of creativity up with your colleagues, and see where people stand. You’ll easily find other employees who’re supressing their creativity at work, even though it’s bursting to be set free. Chat with them, come up with ideas, get more people being creative at work, and help turn your office into a place where people love to work.
For us creative types, the idea of having our creativity stifled for the best part of every day makes our stomach turn, yet for some old-school managers and CEOs, the idea of creativity in the workplace is a foreign and dangerous concept despite research proving the contrary. If you try out any of the above ideas (or any other creative ideas you want to try out in your beige cubicle), and receive friction from your manager(s), send them this quote from Psychology Today, and keep the creativity coming!
Note: I will not be held responsible for your dismissal if your creative adventures go awry! ;)
Encouraging creativity is also good for attracting and retaining quality employees, always an issue even in this bad economy. Encouraging your employees to think creatively also helps to ensure that ideas stay under your roof, instead of having them take their ideas somewhere else or start a competing business. Psychology Today
How else do you bring creativity to your cubicle?
Image Credits: working in office Via Shutterstock