How and where people work has changed dramatically over the past couple of years. As we settle down into our new remote work roles, a decline in creativity and innovation is beginning to surface. So, the question arises: is remote work killing creativity?
Remote work is growing at a rate like never seen before. 67% of employees state they would prefer to work completely remote. In contrast, managers are three times more likely to want to return to the office than their employees. Why the gap? Managers still believe that teams need to physically be together to work in a creative and collaborative environment. A recent study found that it's not where we work that's important. It's how work is done and by who.
Physical boundaries between work and home have become blurred with the increase of remote work. Studies have found that working remotely increases workload by an additional 2 hours each workday. Combined with this, remote workers say unplugging after work is their greatest challenge.
To cultivate creativity, you need time to research, think, and share ideas with co-workers. Increased pressure to perform, being swamped by emails, stuck in online meetings for hours on end, or being contacted at any time of the day or night, can kill any opportunity for a spark of creativity. A recent study confirms this with 42% of remote workers feeling that the biggest creativity killer was due to the increase of heavy workloads.
Drawing more straightforward lines between work and personal life and these handy tips for staying healthy and finding the right balance is essential to giving remote workers more time and space to cultivate creativity.
Loss of trust
Research shows their feelings are not far from the truth. Two-thirds of employers don't trust their staff to work remotely. Recent studies have squashed this belief. On average, remote workers work one extra day a week and are 47% more productive.
Despite this lack of trust, 65% of employers believed offering remote work was essential to attracting and retaining talent. Employers need to recognise and truly accept this new way of working by providing the right tools and a focus on culture to help increase collaboration, productivity, and, ultimately, creativity when under the isolation of working remotely.
Lack of serendipity
Serendipity. That spontaneous brilliant idea that no one was looking for. A vital benefit of a face-to-face work environment, remote work makes the chances of spontaneous creativity challenging to achieve.
Serendipity relies on the casual collisions and collaboration of co-workers from different teams with different expertise and ideas. Hiding behind screens wherever you choose to work remotely that day makes achieving this difficult.
Social relationships and human interactions breed creativity. Employers need to develop creative solutions to enable chance connections in their digital workplaces such as being open by default or utilising virtual collaboration tools such as Teams or Zoom.
An alternative way to address this decline in serendipity is to learn how to master personal serendipity. Employees who learn beyond their specialisation areas, diversify their knowledge and enhance their chances at serendipity at an individual level.
Fostering a culture of creativity
Company culture plays a key role in cultivating creativity. Innovation requires encouragement and support from the top down. Employees need to feel they can stray from the beaten path and speak up without criticism to really feel comfortable sharing new ideas.
When creativity is killed, a company suffers many losses. Loss of new ideas, energy, motivation, and productivity are a few among many of the consequences of the death of creativity.
Humans are social creatures. We thrive on communication. Fostering a culture of creativity requires managers to drastically change how they build and interact with their teams. Getting rid of time-tracking software, taking advantage of digital technology made for creative collaboration, and making time to communicate with others are just some of the many possibilities for developing a culture of creativity.
Being stuck in an actual office can be stifling. Having the choice of where, how, and when they work gives individuals the ability to break from mundane routine, inspiring creativity and innovation. Although not for everyone, 69% of Australians stated their work-life balance had improved since transitioning to remote work. When you combine a culture of creativity with the right balance between workplace culture and expectations, and individual work-life balance, creativity can survive and thrive in remote work environments.
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A man inspired to change the world who launched the company in 2014. He drives internal change and growth with an unwavering commitment to challenging the status quo. No challenge is too big to tackle. As a Frenchie living down under, he enjoys the beach and building his racing motorbike.