Workers who spend less time in office found to be more 'innovative'

Posted: 2017-11-09 02:44:18

It's no secret: stagnancy is a creativity killer and new research from King's College London's King's Business School and the University of Amsterdam has confirmed exactly that.

The research found that employees are more 'innovative' if they leave the office often. This may sound counterproductive, but presenteeism doesn't necessarily reflect output, and being glued to the desk can often do more harm than good. In fact, according to the report, bosses who "demand constant outputs" stifle staff and keep them from having new ideas.

No man is an island

Unsurprisingly, the study found that staff performed best when given time to reflect on feedback and discuss ideas with multiple sources. Of the 1,000 consultancy workers and almost 200 healthcare professionals quizzed for the study, the majority reported that they needed more than just the insight of their fellow workers; they needed to talk to friends, family and customers, as well as have time to process information independently – something that marketers can relate to as well.

Roy Sijbom, assistant professor at the University of Amsterdam in the department of work and organisational psychology and the study's lead author, explained that it is the diversity of viewpoints and the freedom gained through flexibility that fuel creativity.

Flexibility as a driver of creativity

Additional and separate research by King's Business School revealed that employees who outwardly seemed the most dedicated to their roles were often the least productive. This was because employees who were anchored to their desks were unlikely to be able to switch off from work once at home. As a result, they would return lacklustre and likely to burnout.

Tellingly, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation's Future of Jobs Commission, chaired by former employment minister Esther McVey, even recommended that flexible working be included as standard by employers.

The study marks the latest in a growing body of evidence that makes the case for flexible working. Human beings thrive when they have enough space to grow and a change of scenery can shift focus, foster new ideas and present new perspectives.

At a time defined by vacancies and the growing skills gap, flexible working offers employers a chance to capture the attention of the best talent, while also boosting the productivity and satisfaction of existing staff. Want to learn more? Simply get in touch with Stopgap today.

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