Whoever says telecommuting stifles workplace creativity has probably never worked remotely. In this post, we offer six ways remote environments support innovation in the workplace.
Workplace Creativity: 6 Ways Remote Work Inspires Innovation
One of the top reasons that employers shy away from remote work is because they fear a lack of workplace creativity and innovation. As Gallup frankly states, creativity is an asset that businesses cannot afford to neglect. However, in-office work environments and set schedules don’t foster creative collaboration by default.
Organic innovation happens when employees are happy and feel fulfilled in their jobs, and flexibility plays a significant role in workplace satisfaction.
Additionally, the hours a person works don’t necessarily add up to a successful workday. Millennials especially desire flexibility so they can balance or integrate work into their lifestyles, instead of contorting their personal lives around their jobs.
Ultimately, creative thinkers need time and space to think creatively. They need to pace, do jumping jacks, meditate upside down, listen to loud music, or stare off into space. Such behaviors may be unwelcome in a traditional office environment. Therefore, working from home—or the beach, mountains, coffee shop, or wherever—helps evoke the creative process by allowing employees to go to their happy places filled with inspiration.
Of course, employers face potential challenges with managing remote teams, but such difficulties are not unique to telecommute work environments. Any company, regardless of industry, location, and workforce, must account for effective communication, collaboration, and team cohesion. If anything, because telecommuting helps employees achieve better work-life balance, it often improves their productivity and job satisfaction.
At the end of the workday, happy employees perform better. So, if telecommuting makes them happy, why not give it to them?
1. Time Flexibility
The eight-hour workday was a revolutionary change in the late 1800s and dramatically influenced employers and their workforces. However, we now live in a tightly connected world where people can work more productively and no longer need a nine-to-five schedule to fulfill their job duties.
Creatives often need idle time to relax their thoughts and allow their grand ideas to surface. Imposing a structured schedule can stifle them and bring their free-flow thinking to a screeching halt. Therefore, employers who offer flexible schedules and give their staff room to navigate their work and personal lives on their own reap the rewards of loosening the reigns.
Some managers still fear flexible schedules and remote work arrangements because they base employee performance on hours logged instead of results. Yet, many employees are less productive when they are forced to work for a defined duration. As evidence, Vouchercloud.com conducted a survey of almost 2,000 full-time workers who reported being productive for less than three hours per day. During the remaining five hours, they browse social media feeds, read website news, chit chat with colleagues, eat, drink, and even search for other jobs.
Creative Remote Worker Tip: When applying for remote jobs with flexible schedules, ask the recruiters or hiring managers what a typical day is like for someone in your role. If there are a lot of scheduled meetings, hard deadlines, and other schedule inhibitors, you’ll want to consider whether the job aligns with your preferred work style.
2. Location Flexibility and Workplace Creativity
In their Workplace Productivity Trends study, Mindspace found that nearly 33% percent of employees think their workspaces are dull. As such, almost 25% feel that their employers don’t care about their well-being due to the lack of workspace investments.
How do employers expect their best and brightest to think up billion-dollar ideas in uninspired spaces?
Remote work environments give employees the ability to roam and find answers in unexpected places. On an airplane, watching a Broadway production, or walking through the park – the muse can come at any time in any place. As long as they have access to the tools they need to record their thoughts and communicate with team members, they’ll be primed for innovative thinking wherever they are.
Creative Remote Worker Tip: Carrying a mobile device is helpful to type notes, record audio clips, take photos or videos, and perform online research. However, do your incredible mind a favor by leaving the electronics behind on occasion, deeply observing and experiencing your surroundings, and jotting inspirational thoughts using an old fashioned pen and notebook.
3. Enhanced Introversion
Creatives are often naturally introverted, so a work-at-home-with-no-one-around arrangement for such personalities is a no-brainer. In-person conversations may feel intimidating to more introverted individuals or new staff who are learning the ropes and culture. With online messaging apps, email, and other virtual tools, there is a degree of physical separation that may make some people feel safer to express their ideas.
On the flip side, many extroverts have creative flair, but their environments may distract them so much that they can’t focus their visions. Thus, social butterflies can also benefit from some alone time to process their thoughts and fully develop ideas.
Learn More: 10 Success Tips for Extroverts Who Work Remotely
One amazing aspect of remote work is that employees aren’t strapped to one location. If they feel most secure in the comfort of their own homes, they can certainly stay there and thrive. However, if they need a hybrid environment to refuel their batteries and enjoy frequenting coffee shops and coworking spaces, they can do that, too.
Creative Remote Worker Tip: It takes time to get in a groove with new teammates. However, avoid shying away from sharing your thoughts because it makes you feel awkward. Instead of fearing any potentially negative criticism, consider how articulating your ideas contributes to your personal and professional growth. If you still don’t see your values reflected in your coworkers, keep sampling employers until you find a team that embraces your perspectives.
4. Valuable Diversity
Numerous studies show that diversity promotes creativity and innovation in any organization. While cookie-cutter teams with similar backgrounds and education can indeed contribute to society, academic research studies provide evidence that diverse teams tend to outperform their homogenous counterparts.
Therefore, remote teams with members located around the nation, or the world, can benefit from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. They can build upon these different perspectives and devise innovative concepts that add value to the organization’s collective knowledge. Diverse team members can also help companies create products and services for wider audiences. Such workforce variation may also help boost the confidence of typically underrepresented team members and give them a platform for valuable contribution.
Creative Remote Worker Tip: Use your uniqueness to your advantage when searching for a remote job. Remember that there’s no one in the world quite like you. So, leverage your individuality to entice potential employers to unleash your creative potential.
5. Influencer Insights
Rural areas in states like Utah and Wyoming are gorgeous and excellent environments to start up new businesses. However, office employees may have limited opportunities to mingle with Silicon Valley techies or East Coast influencers in their industry. Therefore, companies who branch out their workforce geographically can access the creative energy and knowledge of trends emerging from major commercial centers.
Creative teams everywhere can tap into distant areas without the expense of relocating staff or trying to compete with established giants. Team members who reside in industry hubs can share live insights through a virtual channel that connects various streams of ideation and workflow.
Creative Remote Worker Tip: When possible, consider attending professional conferences related to your industry. Such events help you network with like-minded people and learn about advancements that may help you launch a new concept.
6. Organized Chaos
Logical thinkers often find creative minds challenging to navigate. Fortunately, there are countless cloud-based tools to help teams record, communicate, organize, and collaborate on their ideas. Regardless of their personality type or work style preferences, remote workers around the globe can unite their visions to develop purposeful products.
With all the available apps and ways to connect and organize information, there’s no sense in keeping creatives confined to their office space or a set work schedule. Employers can set their creatives free, while still maintaining team cohesion and efficient workflow.
Creative Remote Worker Tip: If you’re not already using cloud-based applications like Slack, Evernote, or Google Docs, get acquainted with such tools to organize your thoughts, communicate ideas to team members, and begin crafting actionable plans.
Telecommuting Can Boost Workplace Creativity and Engagement
Remote workers who gain more control over their lives and improve their work-life balance tend to be happier with their jobs. Consequently, such employees have more positive energy to devote to creative thinking than when they are stressed about traffic, family responsibilities, and feeling stifled at work.
Plus, with 87% of the world’s workforce feeling unengaged at work, something’s got to give. Free donuts in the lunchroom probably won’t cut it. New laptops and coffee mugs probably won’t either. Employees are increasingly uninspired in traditional office environments and seek telecommute jobs to reduce workday stressors and to live more purposefully and creatively.
Therefore, if you’re an employee looking for a remote position, consider joining Virtual Vocations—an online job search support service for experienced and aspiring telecommuters. As a member, you’ll gain access to an extensive telecommute job database featuring 20,000 open remote jobs at a given time. Our team members screen and organize these job postings to spare you the many headaches of job hunting. We also have a Career Services Team that specializes in resumés, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles to ensure your application materials impress potential employers.
Why wait for inspiration to strike when you can start pursuing better work-life balance right now? Sign up today and set your creative and professional ambitions free and explore Creative Telecommute Jobs.
Are you surprised at the connection between workplace creativity and remote work? Are you a creative worker interested in telework? Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to tell us about the telecommute job you want. We’d love to hear from you to learn more about which remote jobs you want to see featured on our blog.
iStock Photo Credit: 1. FG Trade; 2. Witthaya Prasongsin ; 3. PeopleImages
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