Five simple ways to improve innovation in the workplace

Five simple ways to improve innovation in the workplace blog post

Are your employees working to the best of their role? Motivation is one thing, but what about innovation and productive output? Let’s go back to basics and consider where and how your employees spend their working day.

1. WORKING HOURS With employees increasingly able to request job sharing, flex-time, compressed hours and working from home, draw up your priorities to balance out your options. Perhaps a set schedule is vital for the business model to man the phones etc. However adapted ‘opening hours’ could also give useful support to clients after traditional business hours. Discuss these options with your new starters from the outset to outline everyone’s expectations. Small changes which increase trust and flexibility for your employee can do wonders for morale. Knowing you have their welfare at heart will increase valuable output, communication and trust within your workplace.

2. IDEA GENERATION  People working their role every day are a free and vital ideas pool, so it’s up to you as their employer to generate a strong company culture; foster these ideas, listen, give praise, then credit and action wisely. From interns to senior managers, long-serving staff to locum workers, ensuring you have platform in place to circulate and explore people’s ideas gains respect, company loyalty and bridges the gap between the levels of management. Leaps ahead of the water cooler concept and team building icebreakers, you could generate lunchtime debates, charity events, company conference days, volunteer challenges and after-work drinks set into everyone’s calendars. Help to construct an open-door policy for the way forward. Make it a priority to set up a feedback box, actively inviting cross-departmental collaboration and a recognition system to those whose rise to fruition.


Providing staff with learning opportunities doesn’t have to mean expensive training courses. Why not arrange interdepartmental workshops? The sales director could run an hour on presentation skills, the HR team perhaps a first aid course, marketing executives some copy-writing skills or how to set up and run a blog. This can work particularly well in small to medium sized businesses. Providing inspiration to those who aren’t in traditionally creative roles will develop new self-confidence in different parts of the business and align fresh skill sets beside your objectives. An unimaginative workforce is an unhappy and unproductive one – not to mention a vast waste of valuable resources right at your fingertips!

4.  ENCOURAGING MOVEMENT FROM THEIR DESKS Open plan working may suit those who are sociable and able to switch off from distractions when a deadline is approaching, but it may hinder others. Separate spaces for group meetings and solo work accommodate for this, plus add a community feel. But don’t spend money on a trendy and innovative design which isn’t functional. A simple sofa addition in a separate corner, plug sockets in the tabled dining area and encouraging a change of scenery can be enough. Office workers who rarely leaving their chair to eat lunch hinder their health, positivity and heighten the risk of burn out. Standing desks are increasingly popular, particularly in Scandinavia. These are an innovative option to combat our sedentary lifestyle, proving increased productivity and make it more natural to walk across the office and share those inspirational ideas we’ve been encouraging… 

5. EMPLOYEE VOLUNTEERING Finally, several companies now provide volunteering opportunities as part of their role. This can bring a breath of fresh air (sometimes literally) to employees who spend most of their time on the phone or at their computer. It’d great for team-building, adding to their CV and may give your team the edge they need to excel at their next project. They gain a great platform for leadership and collaboration skills whilst giving back to a great cause. Not to mentioned great fuel for your blog and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) campaigns. Why not try an annual challenge for people to get involved in, take a vote on which charity to support each year, or allow employees to put forward causes which mean a lot to them. This way co-workers can get behind each other to support each other, both inside and outside the workplace. For an example see how LLoyds Banking Group and the Alzheimer’s Society worked together here.