We all know how difficult it can be to focus on certain tasks when there’s a lot of different things distracting us. I’m sure we all at one point or another have taken work home and have had to try to multitask between encouraging the kids to do their homework and focusing on our own work. I know first hand that it can be extremely hard to concentrate on the job in front of me when you are being distracted by your environment.
There are so many aspects of your environment, which can affect your mood and experience, whether it is the ambiance, atmosphere, or specifically, the way you are feeling during that period of time. That being said, it is beneficial that you consider your direct environment if you wish to maximise idea generation, as certain minor changes, such as the design of your office or the amount of natural light your desk gets, can positively affect your productivity and creativity.
Albert Einstein once said ‘Creativity is intelligence having fun’, which is why taking an rational as well as emotive look at your environment is important when looking to improve your idea generation. I’ve previously looked at Servcorp serviced office spaces as they take working environments very seriously and believe that ‘success is not about working harder, it’s about working smarter’: http://www.servcorp.com.au/en/. Which is why a number of companies are looking at the way their offices function in order to make sure they are getting the most out of their environment.
A recent study by scientist Juliet Zhu form the University of British Columbia looked at the affect colour and noise has on people’s creativity. Zhu found that colours such as red and blue had very different outcomes. The study got people to perform tasks on computers with either red or blue backgrounds, and analysed the way the participants performed set tasks. Results showed that people were better at performing creative tasks when working on a blue background, and better at performing more analytical tasks when using the red background.
It has been suggested that this is because blue is associated with tranquility, water, the sky etc, whereas red is associated with danger, stop and emergencies. Therefore if this study is correct in their findings, we could see office spaces considering their colour palettes based on what types of tasks they require their employees to perform. To improve idea generation, incorporating blue into the decor or your screen backgrounds could genuinely aid your creative thinking.
Furthermore Zhu also looked at the way noise can affect your creativity, and her results found that a moderate level of noise has a positive affect. Whereas if the level of noise is high or very low it has a negative effect on a person’s creativity. I can honestly relate, as I find if my work environment is to quiet, my ability to get distracted is a lot higher, whereas if there is a reasonable level of noise, reasonable enough to be heard but without being too loud it becomes distracting, then I can zone out to what the rest of the office is doing, thus allowing me to concentrate on my own ideas.
Personally I feel that the amount of natural light versus artificial light has a direct effect on our creativity and our ability to generate ideas freely. By having natural light coming into your workspace it allows your body clock to work correctly, and can also be a calming influence when work becomes stressful. Additionally, as the presence of natural light is usually through windows, this also allows people to see outside and can encourage people to get out and about during their lunch breaks. As being outdoors and exposed to the elements can also improve your creativity, as by taking a little bit of time out, you temporarily reset your body and mind.
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