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How remote working affects creativity [Video]

Posted by David Doubell on June 25, 2020 at 10:56 AM
David Doubell

Graffiti on building saying Together We Create

Working from home can sometimes be a real challenge, especially if you need to brainstorm ideas with your creative team and crave face-to-face interaction to improve your creativity levels. On the other hand, creativity can be found in simple things.

Sure, it’s great to avoid the traffic, work in your pyjamas and wear no shoes. Still, creativity can often be negatively impacted if creative teams don’t collaborate, have healthy social relationships or random discussions. However, there are also pros to working from home as productivity and energy levels seem to improve considerably.

According to the Harvard Business Review, “A creative work life requires social relationships and serendipitous interactions. It requires contending with ideas you don’t agree with. It requires getting up and moving around. As a result, it’s becoming increasingly clear that for many people, working at an office isn’t a relic of a pre-digital age, but a vital element in reaching their creative potential.”

However, Design Better, a design education hub, says, “Some tasks take more time and consideration but distance does not have to impede on your team’s abilities to create and collaborate with others. Remember, outcomes come from people, not places! You and your team can be just as successful working remotely (perhaps more) if you reshape your team’s thinking, processes, and frameworks without having to lower expectations to leadership.”

Our creative team has mixed feelings about working from home. Some team members really miss the office, but others like the idea of determining their own schedule and having fewer or no distractions.

Want to get your briefing game on from home? Download our Creative Briefing Template here:

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The pros and cons of working remotely for our creative team

VoxMedia, a news and information website, explains working remotely during a global pandemic quite nicely, “Working from home can make people more productive. Just not during a pandemic. Remote work works best if it’s by choice and not every day.” Our creative team wholeheartedly agrees and discusses the pros and cons in a video panel discussion cleverly filmed from home. Our key discussion points and insights are below:



We adapt to changes

With the coronavirus and being in lockdown, it’s challenging to work without seeing and interacting with team members. However, creativity can be found in different places like browsing Behance, Pinterest, reading creative books, taking online tutorials, and even engaging with team members in virtual meetings. Sometimes you have bad days at work, so it’s difficult to be creative, but you can also experience those bad days from home. It really depends from person to person, but you will naturally be more creative when you work in the place where you feel happiest. Although we have increased energy levels by seeing and being in each other’s company at work, there are times when it feels good to work remotely as you don’t have outside distractions. It’s all about being adaptive, though and finding the right balance that works for you.

Dirty dishes are distracting

Working remotely can result in a lot of distractions, like cooking and cleaning the dishes, but the office also has its fair share of distractions like people needing a coffee break or a quick approval on work. Team meetings are more productive from home as meetings via Zoom, for example, often have a 30-minute limit if you’re using the free version. However, the turnaround time per job takes much longer remotely than having a quick conversation with someone at the office. Ask for feedback on every job, and you’ll be a successful remote worker.

Establish boundaries

Having a 9-5 job really allows you to get stuck in and focus on your tasks for the day. However, working from home makes this problematic as people almost expect you to be available 24/7. Establishing boundaries from the start is vital and you need to push back, where and if necessary.

Staying inspired is not that difficult

It’s necessary to stay creative and inspired, even if you’re stuck between four walls all day. Keep yourself in a good mood and exercise - go for a jog or a quick walk in the garden. Listening to music will also do the trick. Discuss your ideas with your partner or a roommate and open your mind to new design trends you haven't tried before. If you’re stuck on a project, you can share your screen with someone and ask for ideas.

Make clients happy. There are different ways to keep in touch with your clients and change your ideas for creative execution, e.g. adapting brochures into interactive PDF documents. We believe in making our clients feel special and keeping our communication channels open.

Tips for working remotely

As working remotely will most likely stay with us for the foreseeable future, it’s essential to focus on your tasks, but approach them creatively. Business Live, a website on all business across the UK, says, “We are social animals, not robots, but we have to make this work for the greater good, and it will be important to monitor closely how well it’s going, together with any potential side-effects and unintended consequences.” So, without further ado, here are some tips for working remotely and staying productive:

1. Change your environment

Being in the same room all day is bad for your creativity - look for different spots in your house and cosy up with a cup of coffee.

2. Collaborate with colleagues

Working from home doesn’t mean you have to neglect or stop communication with your colleagues. Our creative team uses WhatsApp, emails, phone calls, and virtual meetings to keep in touch with each other.

3. Give yourself suitable deadlines

It’s often a good idea to break big tasks into smaller to-dos and tick them off as you work your way to the end of your list.

4. Keep to your own schedule

If getting up early in the morning is not your thing, try staying awake until later at night to complete your tasks. Don’t let them pile up though.

5. Sleep, sleep, sleep

It’s tough to maintain a routine while working remotely, but our advice is to get enough rest. You can’t be creative or productive when you’re exhausted.

Besides the coronavirus and not seeing friends and colleagues every day, it can be great working from home and finding new inspiration in different places. Remote working has taught us to work better with each other and understand each other’s needs. We miss you and would love to see you, but for now, we’re making this work.

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Topics: Strategy, Creative

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