The Top Four Work Settings for Killing Creativity and Culture

Cube or no cube, these rigid environments can hold back even the best employees and destroy your company culture

looking through a chain link fence on the erie canalWhether you’re a corporate leader managing an office of hundreds or lower-level employee at a mid-size office supply and paper company, suits, ties, jeans, and hoodies can make a difference when it comes to comfort and class around the office. Office environment is important. But dress code aside, the setting of your workplace could be destroying morale and holding employees back from making true progress or reaching their potential. When that happens, the company suffers and ROI can dip down to unprecedented levels, due to lack of productivity.

A poor work environment, combined with inflexible policies, can lead to an unsatisfied workforce and a toxic corporate culture. Creativity in a workspace can help solve those problems and encourage new ideas and a culture of forward motion.

To avoid a rigid environment in the workplace, consider moving away from these four settings that kill creativity, productivity, and culture.

The Submissive Hierarchy Setting

A great way to crush the spirit of a team is to implement a strict do as I say, not as I do environment, where the boss is never wrong and questions are discouraged. There’s room for a certain amount of productive conflict in an office environment. However, the top-down, submit to every request, drone mentality can quickly damper even the most enthusiastic employee spirit. This type of setting can construct an underlying resentment in teams and create a toxic environment that can lead to non-production and unnecessary employee attrition.

The Uncompromising Clock Punch Setting

Punching an actual clock is one thing, but the feeling around a stringent 9-to-5 attitude leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to work-life balance and productivity expectations. Creativity tends to suffer when it needs to conform to certain time standards. Meeting deadlines and staying on track is one thing, but overly strict schedules, attendance policies, and a factory-style mentality crushes creative culture.

The All Risk, No Reward Setting

When the focus of an organization or project leans to the negative without any balance of positivity, toxic workplaces can emerge. Teams may not always expect to be rewarded for good work, but it’s always nice to be recognized. When a procedure is botched or a deadline is missed, there are usually consequences. However, if attention or recognition only comes in the form of punishment from poor behavior or performance, enthusiasm can wane quickly. It doesn’t take much less time to recognize a good well done. Creativity needs positivity to thrive.

The Silo Setting

Communication is a large part of the creative process and a successful culture. Working in “silos” or “in a vacuum” can be a huge threat to productivity. In creativity, being an individual is often encouraged, but working strictly as an individual hinders good ideas and a sense of teamwork. Closing individuals or departments out of an inclusive process can lead to resentment and an “every person for themselves” culture. Communicating regularly and keeping teams in an all-encompassing environment makes for the best creative results.