Debbie Messemer headshot
Debbie Messemer, managing partner at KPMG San Francisco Courtesy of KPMG
Commentary

Why taking a vacation is good for productivity

Aug 31, 2015

MPW Insider is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: How do you encourage creative thinking within your organization? is written by Debbie Messemer, managing partner at KPMG San Francisco.

There are two factors that help cultivate a creative workplace: environment and culture. These qualities set the tone for innovation. We’ve recently given our San Francisco office a complete makeover, with an inspiring design and more open workspaces to encourage collaboration and impromptu discussions, which in turn can lead to fresh ideas and innovative solutions for our clients.

Many design components in our office highlight the beauty of our c ity by the b ay, and the natural beauty of Northern California that surrounds us. Artwork by local artisans has been strategically placed throughout our office as well. Sometimes taking a break from a project and feeling motivated by the beauty is the best way to inspire new ideas.

See also: The real reason your ideas aren't going anywhere

But creativity often involves taking risks and exploring unchartered territory. Supporting employee ideas leads individuals to become more confident to try something new and think ‘ outside of the box. ’ Some of my best ideas bloomed simply out of an encouraging nudge, or a mentor’s affirmation. Creating an encouraging ecosystem of employees is critical to an organization’s vitality. We encourage our people to reward innovative thinking – whether through a personal note to a colleague or more formal recognition such as a performance award.

Additionally, time away from the office, is another great way to supercharge your creative thinking. It’s important for employees to take advantage of rest and relaxation periods – whether it’s a vacation, the weekend, lunch out of the office or practicing a hobby or favorite pastime -- it’s not an accident that “getting away” frequently leads to a fresh view of a project or solution to a problem.

Read all answers to the MPW Insider question: How do you encourage creative thinking within your organization?

How your boss is killing your creativity at work by Jeff Diana, chief people officer at Atlassian.

Why creativity is absolutely crucial in the workplace by Barbara Dyer, president and CEO of The Hitachi Foundation.

The one thing that’s blocking your creativity by Kerry Healey, president of Babson College.

How to reward good (and bad) ideas at work by Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO of Ruder Finn.

4 ways to stop worrying and embrace creative risks by Laura Pincus Hartman, professor of business ethics at Boston University.

Why you absolutely need creative employees by Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association.

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