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Unleashing creativity - the key to workplace wellbeing

Have you ever wondered what could make your workplace a more vibrant, fulfilling environment?   

In today’s dynamic and competitive business landscape, characterised by rapid technological change, economic uncertainties and ever-increasing demands, the quest for workplace wellbeing has become more pressing than ever.   

Creativity Every Day, an initiative spearheaded by the team at Creative Waikato, recognises the connection between wellbeing and organisational performance.   

This arts-based wellbeing and personal development programme harnesses the power of creativity to cultivate curiosity, motivation and productivity. By leveraging art, culture, and creativity, this initiative aims to not only foster wellbeing but also elevate workplace satisfaction and productivity within local businesses and individuals.  

Creative Waikato CEO, Dr. Jeremy Mayall, says “there are recognisable trends that highlight both a growing mental health need, and a vital skillset need for creativity in workplaces, and artistic activity is a great conduit for both these things. We saw the need for having a programme that supports people to prioritise creativity in their daily lives and make it accessible in the workplace to support local people to develop those skills and habits.”    

At its core, Creativity Every Day is designed to tap into the inherent creativity of individuals, using materials readily available in an office setting. What sets it apart is its integration with existing professional development, wellbeing and health and safety policies. By incorporating creative practices into daily work life, businesses have reported improvements in communication, collaboration, problem-solving, and relationship-building.  

Participants receive weekly prompts with guided opportunities for trying new creative activities presented by Waikato-based professional artists. This is about encouraging people to try new things as a way of encouraging resilience and curiosity, and if implemented at an organisational level this can support people to build helpful habits. There is flexibility in how people engage with the programme so this personalised approach ensures that everyone can explore their creative potential within the context of their work environment.  

Several businesses in the Waikato region, including Te Waka, have used the programme and experienced improvements in their work dynamics and outcomes.   

“The Te Waka team has enjoyed flexing our creativity muscles though the programme. Individual and collaborative creative tasks have brought out our diverse skill set and fostered valuable moments of levity and fun, contributing to a positive team culture,” says Te Waka’s General Manager for Economic Development, Rosie Spragg.   

To measure its success, Creativity Every Day employs an evaluation framework, including surveys and assessments of workplace wellbeing. By tracking the uptick in workplace satisfaction and the tangible impacts of creative activities on productivity, the programme aims to demonstrate the power of creativity in improving staff wellbeing across the Waikato region.  

This programme has been shown to have tangible benefits even in the first couple of weeks, but the true value emerges over longer timeframes. “Creativity can be woven through the delivery of outcomes, but there is also real value in creative play – time in a space of creative thinking and exploration that exists without expectation of immediate results” says Mayall. “It’s through these unlikely activities that we can strengthen neurological pathways, reduce stress, and forge deeper connections – but it’s important to engage with the process.” 

By prioritising workplace wellbeing and embracing creativity, organisations can strengthen employee retention, facilitate ongoing workforce development, and chart a path towards sustained prosperity and fulfilment.   

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The Waikato is full of people and businesses doing great things. Their stories help build our understanding of the strength of the Waikato and the benefits of living, studying, visiting or doing business here.