22 June, 2024

Morning glory

20 August, 2019

We all have our own experiences of when we tend to feel more alert, inspired, creative and likely to fire on all cylinders. Well, now a detailed study has been undertaken to more accurately determine when these peak periods of full industrious energy are most likely to be among different professions. Innovation funding specialist MPA Group recently surveyed 1000 UK office workers looking into the time of day employees feel most creative, and considering which working environments best help to stimulate their creativity. Interestingly, the morning was found to be the most creative time across all industries, with the average time for optimum creativity being 11:05am. As would be expected, the moment workers feel the most creative varies by profession. According to the survey, journalists feel most creative at 9.48am and architects at 10.06am, whereas engineers cite later in the morning – 11.54am.

Office design and atmosphere are also important considerations for those wishing to maximise innovation. When asked what kind of working environment best encourages their creativity, a quiet office was the most popular choice, with 43% of workers claiming this will help them to create their most innovative ideas, followed by a comfortable break out space (28%), and colourful or vibrant walls (22%). Only one in seven (14%) felt they could be creative in an environment where music was playing and being surrounded by other creative people is only a stimulus for less than one in five workers (19%). To help employers build an inspiring and engaging work environment for their staff, MPA Group has teamed up with a range of industry experts to produce a useful guide on maximising creativity.

Vic Ulfik, operations manager at MPA Group, has well thought through ideas on making sure a company’s team is setting aside time to focus on new ideas: “You’ll never truly realise the creative potential of your workforce unless you give them the opportunity to push boundaries,” he said. “Make sure you set aside time purely for research and development, where the focus is on innovation and progress, rather than simply performing everyday tasks. Give employees the chance to push themselves and develop their knowledge, as doing so will benefit both themselves and your business. The government’s R&D Tax Credits scheme which rewards businesses investing in research and development can provide the much-needed cash some companies may need to invest in their employees.”

Steven Garrod, managing director at MPA Group, ruminated on the importance of failure when it comes to driving creativity: “As Winston Churchill famously said, ‘Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm’. Failure is part and parcel of business life and unless you and your employees accept this, you may discourage risk-taking and creativity. Treat every attempt as an opportunity to learn and as another step towards your ultimate goal. A great incentive for this is in the R&D Tax Credits scheme, which allows companies to make a claim even if their project is unsuccessful, so the fear of failure shouldn’t dissuade businesses from innovation.”

As MPA Group observes, the UK is a hub of innovation, but without effective work environments and schedules, employers might inadvertently be restricting the creativity of their staff. Allowing employees to be creative has numerous benefits to companies. A more innovative environment helps staff feel more comfortable and motivated, which can lead to the development of ideas and the sort of progress that keeps businesses at the forefront of their industries. This alone will typically lead to increased revenue and market value, but there are further financial incentives available for innovating companies. HMRC’s R&D Tax Credit scheme rewards such businesses by allowing them to claim back on research and development projects in the form of substantial tax relief. Encouraging creativity certainly has its advantages, both financial and in terms of staff morale. Business owners take note.

Ed Holden


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