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UK companies are jeopardising creativity through inflexible working hours.

The common practice of working late into the night kills creativity - except in workers under 24, according to research sponsored by Corel released today. Afternoon brainstorms which try to force creativity are actually killing productivity, the study suggests.

The survey finds that creative time varies by both gender and age group.

For example, few (16 per cent) of those between 16-24 feel at their most creative in the morning, compared to 44 per cent of 55-64 year olds. The majority of 16-24 year olds feel most creative in the evenings (46 per cent) whereas many 25-44 year olds feel most creative in the morning (30 per cent).

A third of men feel creative out of conventional working hours compared to only 24 per cent) of women.

Corel concludes that employers which require creativity in staff should offer more flexible working hours to improve imaginative output.

Many companies are considering, or already offer, their staff flexible working hours but this survey suggest that companies may need to take a more structured approach by finding out when the individual works best if they want to improve productivity.

"As part of our campaign for creativity we wanted to find out how British employers can maximise the creative talent within their organisation," said Amanda Bedborough, executive vice president, Corel. "Our study supports the beliefs of many chronobiologists or body clock scientists, who have suggested that if we don't listen to our body clock we won't perform as effectively. With a skill that it is so intangible such as creativity it is critical that it is not forced. Employers need to therefore consider helping their employees structure their day around when they perform tasks most effectively."

The survey, carried out by Dynamic Markets on behalf of Corel, quizzed 1,000 people of mixed aged groups and sexes throughout the UK on their attitudes to work and creativity. ®

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