The Effect of Environment on Creativity

Question: Who are the creative people you work with?

More than likely you immediately thought of your colleagues across the hall developing the latest brochure or editing that video going up on the website next week.

What if I told you everyone you work with, including yourself, is creative? It may not be overtly apparent, but everyone brings their own creative spark to their position. From designing something in Photoshop, to color-coding an excel spreadsheet, everyone has a unique way of approaching their tasks. Therefore, it’s imperative to have an environment that helps support and nurture that creativity – no matter what form it comes in.

Studies have confirmed that your environment directly correlates with your ability to be creative. This includes everything from noise level all the way down to what color the carpet is. Below we’ll touch on some of the major factors in finding the ideal creative environment.


This is without question the biggest influence in sparking or dampening your creative flow. If you have been in any office lately you’ve seen first hand that open space concepts are the new norm. The driving force behind this trend is the ability to easily collaborate with colleagues. Some of the ways you can accomplish this is:

  1. Make things moveable. Have a set of training tables on hand to facilitate gathering anywhere around the office.
  2. Strategically place whiteboards around your office to encourage co-workers to gather and share ideas, without having to worry about reserving a conference room.
  3. When it comes to the ceilings – the higher the better. A popular theory called the “cathedral effect” helps to promote people to think abstractly and more creatively.


The beauty about creativity is that more often than not it goes against the norm. When sitting down to accomplish a task, most people would say that the quieter the location the better. However, when it comes to being creative a little bit of noise can do wonders. In a recent study it was found that the optimum noise level for a creative environment is similar to that of a noisy restaurant (approximately 70 decibels).



In terms of being creative, while also being productive, nothing compares to having an abundance of natural light to work with. Research has shown that employees working in a naturally lit environment are more in tune with their circadian rhythm, allowing for more adequate brain functionality during their day. This in turn not only helps with the creative process, but allows them to more easily tap into other areas of the brain to accomplish whatever tasks they may face.