Remote work forcefully swept through workplaces across the globe when the pandemic took hold. Many businesses were not in a position to shift their workforce to a fully digital environment with such short notice, but as businesses faced being shut down or pivoting to remote work, the latter soon became the reality. Post-pandemic, businesses are still struggling to find work dynamics that foster creativity and productivity.
While some employees may be flourishing in a remote environment, others may be struggling. Finding the right remote work setup, like offering flexibility to work in-office or from co-working spaces, is crucial to your team’s well-being and creativity.
How to Cultivate Creativity in a Remote-First Work Environment
To cultivate creativity, leadership and human resource teams need to push the boundaries of what was “normal” in the past. We are living through very different times now versus three years ago. Developing a future-focused working environment may mean trying things that seem unconventional.
For some teams, cultivating creativity may look like “mixed department” meetings where professionals across the organization come together to discuss new ideas and gain outside perspectives on their projects. In some cases, it may make sense to take a “brainwriting” approach to meetings, whereby everyone jots ideas down and brings them together. This helps prevents the most talkative few from dominating discussions.
Another tactic that Traxo tested recently was bringing in an outside facilitator to help our team understand its own biases, bring a fresh perspective and ensure we efficiently used our time together. Plus, it took the facilitator role away from an internal employee so that they could contribute alongside everyone else. In a remote-first environment, bringing in outside help is easier and more cost-effective than ever before.
It’s also important to strike the right balance between scheduled meetings (in-person or otherwise), video calls and email/slack messages. While instant messages and email can save time, they don’t always encourage creative solutions and collaboration. The cadence that works for your team and its varying personalities may differ vastly from similar departments in other organizations.
Empower Teams to Work When and Where They Feel Most Creative
Being in a remote workplace may offer your team more flexible working hours, depending on your business. If so, consider allowing employees to be online when they are personally most productive and creative. This will help to foster valuable work-life balance and allow them to put their best foot forward at work.
Remote work options and schedule flexibility are two of the most impactful employee retention tools employers have today. A 2022 survey conducted by FlexJobs revealed that 43% of employees who resigned did so because remote work wasn’t an option, with 41% citing a lack of schedule flexibility.
For more extroverted employees or those who are simply tired of looking at the same walls every day, providing a coworking space or office for part-time work may be the perfect solution for their ebbs in creativity.
Reunited and It Feels So Good: The Importance of Occasional In-Person Meetings
Creativity can be sparked when teams are reunited or simply working in a different environment, where their senses are re-invigorated. When you can break the mundane of that siloed, independent work-from-home atmosphere employees are accustomed to, you invite new ideas to percolate and workplace relationships to be fortified.
If you have an opportunity to do so, welcome your teams to come together in person and harness that energy of being together again. Create a safe space for teams to brainstorm, share ideas, and collaborate.
For example, the Traxo team recently held a company-wide meeting at a WeWork office to discuss our brand messaging and plans for 2023, setting forth a roadmap that will carry different departments forward in a cohesive manner. Plus, we finally got to enjoy a team lunch after many months apart.
Are you willing to be the driving force of change within your organization, push the boundaries of remote work and spark creativity within your workforce? Traxo’s team has certainly felt the benefits! And, as Forbes points out, competitive advantage will increasingly come from the creative talents of its workforce – not productivity alone.