A report has shown that cramped office spaces reduce creativity.
Scientists state that workers perform better when they are thinking outside of the box, in the most literal of senses.
A new report has stated that cramped work spaces decrease creativity in office workers.
The report, by Chinese and U.S scientists, states that if employers want to get their employees to think outside the box then they need to consider the working environment that they are put in.
The experiment carried out saw volunteers sitting inside or outside a cardboard box which measured 5ft by 5ft with the team ensuring that no-one felt claustrophobic and that the cardboard box was the only variable present during the experiment.
The volunteers were then set a test and the results showed that the people sitting outside of the cardboard box were thinking more creatively. Similarly, another test revealed that volunteers generated more ideas when walking freely than if they were walking in a straight line.
Dr Angela Leung of Singapore Management University said: “Creativity is a highly sought-after skill. Metaphors of creative thinking abound in everyday use.
“Our experiments demonstrated for the first time some metaphors work’ by activating psychological processes conducive for generating previously unknown and therefore creative ideas.”
Volunteers were also give two halves of a cut up drinks coaster designed as a metaphor of ‘putting two and two together’. The results, published in the Psychological Science journal, indicated that volunteers who put the coasters together after being reminded of the metaphor achieved greater success in doing so.
Dr Leung added: ”People who acted out the ‘putting two and two together’ metaphor displayed more convergent thinking, a component of creativity that requires bringing together many possible answers to settle on one that will work.
“Other experiments found that walking freely generated more original ideas than walking in a set line; another found truth in “on the hand; on the other hand.
“All this suggests that there’s something to the metaphors we use to talk about creativity. Having a leisurely walk outdoors or freely pacing around may help us break our mindset. We should also consider getting away from small office cubicles and creating open office spaces to free up our minds.”
The study comes after Google let workers design a quirky office environment in their Victoria office with the hope of boosting creativity.