Why snoozing on the job could be good for creativity

We asked PROs from in-house and in agencies where they get their best ideas, and the secret to creativity seems to be to remove yourself from the office environment. Ideally you should go and have a lie down. However, if that isn’t an option, they also offer tips for encouraging creativity at work.

Andy Sommer, communications and public relations manager at insurance company esure, says: “I’ve been lucky enough to work across a number of different industries including tech, finance, property, consumer, retail as well as corporate in different markets around the world. I find this breadth of experience always helps me to think laterally and consider a wide range of perspectives. As a result, ideas tend to come to me quite quickly, but I find the most common situation is when I’m away from the clutter of life. It could be on a train, waiting in a reception area ahead of a meeting or, rather unfortunately, the early hours of the morning when that ‘eureka’ moment hits.”

Tips at work

However, as it’s not always possible to get out of the office, Sommer gives these tips for coming up with good ideas at work: “In terms of a working environment, I find ideas tend to flow when you work alongside good people who challenge, consider and create. I’ve worked with such people throughout my career and the marketing team at esure certainly fit that bill as well.”

For Julia Ruane director of agency ChiCho Marketing, the best place for coming up with ideas are when she is in a different place thinking about different things: “It's not when I'm sat at my desk and it's not during a forced brainstorm meeting either!” Her tip for inspiring people in the office is to create a culture where ideas are welcomed (no matter how bad), shared and discussed: “Companies that have people glued to a computer screen, who frown on people who try to do things differently, who discourage too much 'chatter'. Well, they've not got a hope of generating good ideas from their employees.”

Lying down

No matter how inspiring an office environment is, the best ideas are still most likely to occur when you are away from your desk, a good reason for making sure you aren’t chained to it. As Rod Cartwright, global corporate practice director at agency Ketchum, confesses, the best ideas reveal themselves to him when he is relaxing. He says he gets inspired, “In the shower or on a plane, usually at 3am when the lights are out. And yes, we’re still talking about ideas before anyone asks …”

This backs up the findings of research. Donna Chessum, deputy managing director of PR agency Tribe, outlines the results: “No sniggering at the back, please, as I reveal that the place most people get their best ideas is ... in bed. I know this to be a fact – well, a fact good enough to fill a considerable amount of column inches – as some years ago we commissioned a nationwide survey for a client to find out the answer to this question. There were some humorous regional variations in the findings such as the Welsh apparently being more likely to find inspiration while on the loo. Seriously though, the research prompted a call for employers to consider installing beds or comfy sofas in rest rooms to help boost creativity and, er, better office relations!”

Written by Daney Parker

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