Peak productivity – how and when are UK employees at their most creative?

UK employees feel they’re most creative at 11:05am, according to new research*.

The survey of 1,000 UK office workers looked into the time of day employees feel most creative, and which working environments best help to stimulate our creativity. Interestingly, the morning was the most creative time across all industries, with the overwhelming majority claiming their best ideas come between 10am and 11.30am. More specifically, across the whole country, the average time for optimum creativity was 11:05am.

The moment workers feel the most creative, by industry is:

Journalist – 9.48am; Architect – 10.06am; Designer – 10.16am; Scientist – 10.30am; Accountant – 11am; Teacher – 11.01am; Admin staff – 11.14am; Salesperson – 11.15am; Lawyer – 11.19am; Technician – 11.21am; Artist – 11.46am; Engineer – 11.54am; Doctor – 12pm

Office design and atmosphere are also important considerations for those wishing to maximise innovation. When asked what kind of working environment best encourages their creativity, a quiet office was the most popular choice, with 43 per cent of workers claiming this will help them to create their most innovative ideas, followed by a comfortable break out space (28 per cent), and colourful or vibrant walls (22 per cent). Only one in seven (14 per cent) felt they could be creative in an environment where music was playing and being surrounded by other creative people is only a stimulus for less than one in five workers (19 per cent).
To help employers build an inspiring and engaging work environment for their staff, MPA Group has teamed up with a range of industry experts to produce a useful guide on maximising creativity.

Biophilic Design

Kevin McIntosh, Head of Design at Chameleon Business Interiors, believes green is the answer:

The number one office trend is a move to go greener with elements such as living walls – a trend known as ‘biophilic design’. Studies at Exeter University show that biophilic design can boost creativity and increase productivity by up to 15 per cent, just by having a few house plants in an office space. It is also proven to reduce stress, blood pressure levels, and heart rate.

Set time aside

Vic Ulfik, Operations Manager at MPA Group, commented on making sure your team is setting aside time to focus on new ideas:

You’ll never truly realise the creative potential of your workforce unless you give them the opportunity to push boundaries. Make sure you set aside time purely for research and development, where the focus is on innovation and progress, rather than simply performing everyday tasks. Give employees the chance to push themselves and develop their knowledge, as doing so will benefit both themselves and your business. The government’s R&D Tax Credits scheme which rewards businesses investing in research and development can provide the much-needed cash some companies may need to invest in their employees.

Encourage autonomy

James Lloyd-Townshend, CEO at Frank Recruitment Group, discusses the importance of encouraging independent thinking:

In any business, good teamwork is vital for long-term success, but in my experience encouraging a healthy amount of autonomy across your organisation fosters the kind of confidence and creativity that a business needs to grow and truly compete in its industry.

I’ve always felt that it’s better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission, and that philosophy inspires our employees to claim their independence. It’s important that senior management creates a space where every member of the company feels comfortable sharing their ideas. That’s how you as an organisation can push the boundaries of what’s happening in your industry.

Reward creativity

Sue Andrews is an HR and Business Consultant at KIS Finance. With 25 years of experience in the HR sector she has supported business leaders in a variety of sectors to design and deliver workforce strategies. Sue believes that incentivisation is key in inducing creativity. She says,

 Encourage creativity by recognising and rewarding those who find ways to bring creativity and innovation to life. Monetary reward is one route but investing in them as an individual, through further development opportunities, will have a longer-term impact on their motivation.

Embrace failure

Finally, Steven Garrod, Managing Director at MPA Group, discusses the importance of failure when it comes to driving creativity: He comments,

As Winston Churchill famously said, ‘Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm’. Failure is part and parcel of business life and unless you and your employees accept this, you may discourage risk-taking and creativity. Treat every attempt as an opportunity to learn and as another step towards your ultimate goal. A great incentive for this is in R&D tax credits, which almost rewards failure allowing companies to make a claim even if their project is unsuccessful, so the fear of failure shouldn’t dissuade businesses from innovation.

The UK is a hub of innovation, but without effective work environments and schedules, employers might be inadvertently restricting the creativity of their staff. Allowing employees to be creative has numerous benefits to companies. A more innovative environment helps staff feel more comfortable and motivated, which can lead to the development of ideas and the sort of progress that keeps businesses at the forefront of their industries. This alone will typically lead to increased revenue and market value, but there are further financial incentives available for innovating companies.

*Research by innovation funding specialists MPA Group

Interested in job design that increases quality of work and productivity? We recommend the Job Design for Good Work and Increased Productivity training day.






Aphrodite is a creative writer and editor specialising in publishing and communications. She is passionate about undertaking projects in diverse sectors. She has written and edited copy for media as varied as social enterprise, art, fashion and education. She is at her most happy owning a project from its very conception, focusing on the client and project research in the first instance, and working closely with CEOs and Directors throughout the consultation process. Much of her work has focused on rebranding; messaging and tone of voice is one of her expertise, as is a distinctively unique writing style in my most of her creative projects. Her work is always driven by the versatility of language to galvanise image and to change perception, as it is by inspiring and being inspired by the wondrous diversity of people with whom paths she crosses cross!

Aphrodite has had a variety of high profile industry clients as a freelancer, and previously worked for a number of years as an Editor and Journalist for

Aphrodite is also a professional painter.