Employees in the UK are creative less frequently than those in other leading economies, according to new research from Steelcase, which ranks six countries on how frequently employees report using their creativity at work.
The study of nearly 5,000 workers around the globe, carried out by Harris Interactive, found that in the UK only 36% of people are creative on a daily basis – placing the UK behind the US, Germany and France. However, there are signs that UK workers want this to change, with over half of UK respondents (52%) indicating that they would like to be creative more often.
Creativity is a critical issue with digital transformation rapidly upending the world of work and routine tasks being automated, which mean organisations across sectors increasingly need workers to think creatively and solve difficult problems.
UK workers rank the top barriers to creativity as heavy workloads (42%), organisational process (35%) and outdated technology (23%).
“Being creative at work is critical for organisations, given the acceleration of changes in the market. New technologies are creating the conditions that allow start-ups and new entrants to challenge dominant market players, and that competition is coming from different corners of the globe. Being attentive to disruptions before they happen means that a significant portion of the organization needs to maintain a critical eye on existing processes; identify new problems, and must be willing to approach the work differently, to try new things.” says Beatriz Arantes, WorkSpace Futures at Steelcase. “Creativity is an important skill for future employability as well. The more procedural a job is, the higher the risk of automation in the future.”
What’s Holding Creativity Back in the UK?
So, what is holding creativity back in the UK? The study provides some indicators:
- Organisational Barriers:More UK workers than the other countries survey rank workload as an issue, with 42% reporting it as the biggest barrier to creativity, followed by organisational process. It’s perhaps not surprising that UK workers were more likely to say technology and physical space are barriers – considering the UK has more than twice as many open plan offices than the global averagewith 49% entirely open plan.
- Resistance to Change:Unlike the other lower-ranked countries, UK workers aren’t as eager to be more creative. Spanish workers most want change with 62% wanting more creative opportunity, followed by Japan (60%) and France (57%). Meanwhile UK workers are in-line with the two countries where workers are already most frequently creative – matching US workers who want more opportunity at 52% and only outpacing Germany (44%).
- Don’t See a Need: UK is the only country where over half (53%) expect their job will require the same level of creativity in five years. UK workers are also LEAST likely to believe their job will require more creativity in the next five years, with only 32% saying they believe this will be the case.