Freedom is often hailed as the ultimate solution to happy employees. But most people have an easier time being creative when there are some restrictions in place.
Example: If your agency needs you to write as many slogans as possible selling pineapples in the next 10 minutes. When do you think you will produce more? A) If the 10 minutes is the only restriction. B) If you have a 10 minute restriction, you cannot use the word pineapple and all the slogans have to be under 10 words or less?
Studies show that B is the right answer – even though you have more freedom in A. Sidenote: We tried it at our office and we are currently considering a new venture in ’’Spiky yellow fruit’’ advertising.
So does this prove that freedom may not be the answer to an infinitely creative and productive workplace culture?
Of course not – because we had the freedom to choose those restrictions.
Client expectations and agency needs dictate the tasks that have to be solved. Every agency also needs to have some time and budget restrictions to prevent a project getting out of hand.
Other than that, the freedom to solve the problem in any way possible is one of the most significant benefits you can grant your employees:
- The most efficient way to a problem takes all the learning and experimentation out of the process
- Using less billable hours and achieving maximum efficiency will inevitably mean that the client should probably expect cookie-cutter deliverables instead of innovative solutions
- If there is a framework, guideline or brand book for everything, proposing new solutions and approaches might be perceived as too much of a hassle to even suggest
If you find the perfect balance in the above, you should have the How and Why of task management covered. But freedom in the workplace is a complicated thing. The How and Why are questions that have to be answered or the work will never get done. But why not take more weight off of people’s shoulders by not having them stress over the When and Where as well?