Link Between Creativity And Office Design Going Unnoticed: Experts Warn Of Risk To UK Business

October 22, 2005 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
New research has revealed that British companies rank inspiring workforce creativity and innovation as their lowest priority when planning the working environment, despite calls from the government and industry leaders imploring companies to harness and propagate a creative economy.

An independent survey of the directors of medium-to-large businesses across the UK, commissioned by workplace transformation specialist Morgan Lovell, revealed that 7 out of 10 businesses do not consider the impact of office interior design, and therefore the working environment in inspiring creativity among the workforce.

Costing British businesses more than £135 billion each year , poor office design affects not only employee productivity but also quality of work. David Henderson, Managing Director of Morgan Lovell, says the issue of designing innovative workplaces is of direct relevance to business decision makers:

“The physical working environment is inextricably linked with corporate performance and achieving strategic goals on many levels. Not only can office interior design affect the flow of communication between employees for example, but office design can also influence thinking and inspire ideas. And in competitive industries, ideas really are the new capital, spawning a point of difference between organisations”.

There is an increasing body of evidence for the argument that the workplace can either stimulate or stultify creativity. A campaign undertaken by East of England Development Agency earlier this year revealed the environment is a key factor in having good ideas and Britain’s bosses should henceforth capitalise on this opportunity. And in the face of the growing competitive challenge from markets such as China, the Chancellor has called for Britain’s businesses to enhance their creative output . As a result, recruiting and training staff has become more important than ever. According to Jeremy Myerson, Director of InnovationRCA at the Royal College of Art and the author of The 21st Century Office, the workplace plays an integral role in stimulating employees and this cannot be ignored for numerous reasons:

"More and more companies internationally accept that office design can be a key factor in recruiting and retaining premium staff. Current user research points to growing dissatisfaction with sterile, inflexible work environments and if British companies don't wake up to this, they won't be able to compete for employees in global markets in the future.”

Despite these revelations, astonishingly, Morgan Lovell’s research reveals almost half of management teams (47%) see no real link between the workplace and improving staff creativity and productivity. These findings illustrate a real need for increased awareness of the proven connection between office design and employee output.

So how can a company foster an ideas culture? David Henderson says, “Aesthetics alone are not conducive to an inspiring and profitable workplace. The physical working environment needs to be closely tailored to the requirements of developing knowledge and inspiration within an organisation. It’s like the use of colour for example. Improving a workplace is not about choosing one colour over another because it creates a specific effect or encourages a mood. Rather, office designers should compose a visually stimulating space with several changes in colour, each chosen for its function in a given place”.

Mr Henderson added, “As the knowledge-driven economy of the 21st century emphasises the importance of ideas in the new ‘creative age’, innovative working environments need to become a priority for management teams. Maybe it’s time for companies to take a bite out of Apple, having just been named the most innovative company in the world”!

Morgan Lovell ( is the UK’s premier office design and transformation specialist. Morgan Lovell consults, designs and constructs thousands of square meters of office interiors every year, transforming them into inspiring places to work. It is a member of Morgan Sindall plc, which operates through four specialist divisions of fit out, construction, infrastructure services and affordable housing.