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October 10, 2022

The importance of creative security for mental health

by Ross McGee posted in Creativity, Mental Health, Neurodiversity.

Ayoa | The importance of creative security for mental health
Mental health is a thorny, multi-faceted topic and one which cannot be comprehensively tackled in a single blog post. That’s why, to mark World Mental Health Day, we’re going to be looking at one specific aspect of mental health – that is, the importance of creative security for mental wellbeing at work. Of course, it’s important to note that mental health matters every day of the year, but international days such as this one also provide us with space to recognise publicly how important mental health is to quality of life, while also breaking down the stigmas which have historically surrounded it. So, if you’re wondering how creative security can improve mental health, keep reading to find out more.

Fulfilment and mental health

There are many causes for poor mental health, but in the workplace in particular, burnout and lack of purpose are common exacerbators of feelings of dejection and apathy. Needless to say, work takes up a large portion of our time, and when we feel unable to express ourselves or undervalued in our role, the knock-on effects are often overwhelming. It’s a little known fact that creativity directly links to feelings of wellbeing – in fact, one Adobe survey found that companies who invest in creativity also improve employee happiness. Additionally, a different survey found that those in creative roles and professions report higher levels of job satisfaction. The upshot of all this? Creativity elevates mental health and improves an employee’s sense of purpose at work. This is incredibly helpful for leaders looking to improve overall mental health in their teams, but also leads to one tricky dilemma…

The creativity paradox

So, we know now that creativity can improve wellbeing, however what we haven’t addressed is the environment in which creativity truly flourishes. While security is an important factor for positive mental health – hence you’ll often hear discussion of “safe spaces” – the best ideas often come from a place of experimentation and risk. So, how can employers encourage creativity while still maintaining a sense of security? The answer lies in an overall approach to work culture and values. At Ayoa, we believe strongly that anyone can be creative, and that when all employees feel safe to be experimental, make mistakes and get silly with their ideas, the outcome will be happier employees and better ideas. Keep reading to see some must-have values for ensuring creative security and how we follow these same principles within Ayoa.

Neuro-inclusivity

A positive working environment must be inclusive to everyone. Neuro-inclusivity – a working environment which is considerate to all neurological makeups – ensures all individuals feel valued and able to work in a way that suits them. Ayoa encourages neuro-inclusivity via its app, which is visual, flexible and accessible to all. Working with a tool such as Ayoa centralises employee engagement in a way that doesn’t leave anyone out. Plus, considering the natural and oft-noted link between neurodiverse individuals and creative flair, it enables neurotypical employees to observe and learn from their neurodivergent colleagues. All in all, inclusivity is a must for creative security, allowing everyone to be the best version of themselves regardless of individual differences.

Everyone is heard

Feeling unseen and undervalued often damages mental health and can equally put employees off from sharing ideas. After all, being open and creative also requires being vulnerable. If you feel your ideas will be ignored or, even worse, mocked, you will not feel capable of speaking out and sharing your full potential. This is one of the reasons why Ayoa features brainstorming solo mode which allows participants to add their ideas to a mind map out of public view before a brainstorming session, so that no one is intimidated or overshadowed by louder voices and everyone can shine in a session. While this is a perfect way to offer creative security to nervous and quieter members of the team both remotely and in-person, you can create a similar effect simply by asking every team member to come up with five ideas prior to a brainstorm session and have everyone read their ideas out before general discussion starts.

Reduce external stresses

You won’t be surprised to learn that stress is bad for mental health, and bad for creative ability. In our modern techy world there’s always some notification beeping or flashing, and keeping all the plates spinning leaves little time for daydreaming to cook up your best ideas. Encouraging better work management techniques is one way to enable your team to give themselves more time to do the fun stuff (ahem, creative ideation) while removing the stresses of the more boring stuff (to-do lists and communication). Ayoa achieves this by reducing background noise with all work managed in one central app, and also providing spaces such as mind maps and group chats where employees can get creative within an online working space. Thus, creativity becomes an everyday part of working life – enhancing wellbeing across the board.

Room for both

Last but not least, you can improve creative security by ensuring organisational priorities are in line with your goals. If you want to provide more opportunities for your team to be creative, you have to also give them time and permission to do just that. When the emphasis is still placed primarily on productivity, with only a slither of time here and there for actual creative thought, the impact on wellbeing will be equally slim. That’s why Ayoa is built to be equally weighted, offering room for both the creative process and manual work required to turn those ideas into action. Balancing work in this way lets team members know that they’re not only allowed but encouraged to work on their own ideas, allowing them to feel confident in their creative pursuits and happier in their overall work.

Overall, whilst creativity and security might seem at odds with one another, with the right steps they can in fact garner one another to create a reciprocal force for both improved mental health and innovation. Give your people confidence and security in themselves so they feel safe in being creative, whilst also taking the time to boosting their mental health, by signing up to Ayoa today!

Find creative harmony

Ayoa is an all-in-one platform that allows individuals and teams to explore ideas whilst staying productive to produce an unstoppable feeling of achieving something great! Give yourself a creative edge, stay productive, and keep on top of what you need to do.

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Ross McGee

Ross studied English Literature at Cardiff University, enjoying the rich diversity of perspectives and experiences which texts presented to be analysed. Graduation took him into a marketing role where consideration of various interpretations and drivers could be continued. Today his interest in understanding different standpoints has turned into a passion for supporting neurodiversity - a catalyst for alternative, creative thinking and societal breakthroughs.

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