No matter what industry you’re in, you will need creative thinkers to move your business forward. By encouraging creating space for safe self-expression, you give your employees a place to express ideas that may seem out of the scope of their jobs. From these thoughts may come your best opportunities.
The Power of Safe Self-Expression
When your employees feel safe expressing their thoughts and emotions, you provide a base of shared support that everyone in the firm can access. Not only can this bring some great ideas to the surface, but you can give those employees who may struggle with mental disorders like depression the flexibility to;
- arrange their days so their best mental energy can be shared effectively
- provide those who need some quiet time a much-needed break
- promote authentic engagement in the workplace, and
- reduce mental fatigue
Creativity in the Workplace
None of your employees, even yourself, are robots forging ahead for the sake of business alone. People need the ability to express themselves occasionally and to take some time to care for themselves to move ahead, in much the same way they would need time to consider and tackle new business ideas, so they can fully contribute.
Encouraging your employees to be creative in the workplace is also a great way to encourage employee engagement. Fully engaged employees are;
- more likely to stick around, putting your training dollars to the best use
- willing to buckle down and do what it takes to get through the tough times
- put company resources to the best use
- celebrate their wins, and
- give themselves a break when things go wrong.
How can you encourage self-care in the workplace daily? First off, start at the top. Owners, leaders and managers need to learn to take a mental health break and share that they are doing so.
Mental and emotional rest is the best way to refresh yourself and come up with better ideas than you had the day before, so – demonstrate this to your employees. A of people learn by example, so having owners and managers actively promoting self-care at work, even in small steps, will encourage employees to follow suit.
Secondly, encourage employees to take a break. If you know that an employee is struggling, suggest a long lunch or a walk around the block. Encourage your employees to let people know what their triggers are and what times of the day they are most or least energised. Respect these boundaries.
Simple Means of Self Expression
Allowing some free decoration of the workspace is critical to encouraging self-expression. Also, consider letting employees create a “door closed” sign for when they’re very busy or struggling to focus. This can be anything from a laminated poster to stick to the cubicle wall to a hat or set of headphones that let co-workers know that this employee needs time to think!
This is particularly crucial for new employees. Focusing on the personality of new employees and allow them to express themselves leads to better retention and engagement, for example.