Creativity should be considered the heartbeat that drives innovation within an organization. Creativity allows for new ideas to emerge and new conclusions to arise. It helps people improve their workflow, it inspires them; leading to an all-around happier team.  Here are four ways to encourage your employees to be more creative.

Allow Flexible Schedules

If you follow this step, you will have to kiss the mundane 9-5 work schedule goodbye. Different approaches include work-from-home days, or even unlimited vacation days (given it is not abused). Studies have shown that flexible schedules lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction, but more importantly – it leads to an increase in creativity. When employees aren’t concerned about punctuality and “waiting out the clock,” they have more time to unwind and naturally come to conclusions.

Encourage Breaks

Allowing breaks has been proven to increase employee’s productivity. Incorporating breaks into your employee’s schedule will take away from the “grindstone” feel, leaving them more relaxed. When employees aren’t pressured by time, they can reach an approach naturally by having the freedom to walk away when they feel stuck and come back refreshed.

Listen to Ideas

One of the biggest downfalls of companies is their failure to have creative collaboration. Some people have really good ideas but may be hesitant to speak up if they feel their ideas don’t matter. You don’t have to act on every idea but it is important that you are open to hearing them. Employees who feel valued will help your company succeed.

Create a Team Mentality

The best business ideas are ones that are not changed behind closed doors after being discussed collectively as a group. Creativity is a team sport. Make sure your team members work together. Giving employees the opportunity to bond with one another is a major factor in how well creativity will flow within an organization. The more you work together and collaborate as a team, the better you’ll be at coming up with creative solutions.

Creativity doesn’t come naturally to everyone. However, if you change the environment in which your employees work, it will help jumpstart a creative mindset.