Innovation in Uncertain Times: Keeping Remote Teams Creative

man working using laptop and writing on notebook

Creativity is a tricky thing to master, especially in business. When inspiration goes, discipline steps in to fill the gaps. When discipline, however, won’t cut it due to the emotional turmoil brought by the pandemic, then you’ve got a team that’s unproductive and demotivated. Who can blame them, though? The global health crisis has various and lasting mental repercussions, particularly on creative people. This rings most true when you put it in the context of remote work.

The solution may not be to force the old ways but to embrace the new. Creativity and collaboration may not look the same way again, which is why it’s important to think up better ways to collaborate and reignite your creativity.

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The current remote work set-up utilizes “democratizing” tools such as group chats and video conference calls. Unlike in the traditional office where meeting rooms suggest a hierarchy, virtual rooms suggest an equality that encourages people to speak up more. It’s an effective set-up for brainstorming when you’re thinking up new marketing campaigns and strategies during the crisis.

More people mean more ideas. These ideas may not be the ultimate answer, but they can create starting points that will drive your next successful campaign. Cultivate a feeling of democracy in your virtual meetings and motivate the shy and introverted ones to give their insights. This is an efficient way to help each other remain productive when only a few have their creative juices working normally.

Promote Individual Creativity

When creativity is an integral part of your output, you’ll want to make sure that you’re finding ways to nurture your team members’ individual creativity. You can do this by making sure that they honor their rest days and find time for hobbies they’re passionate about. It can be totally unrelated to work, like jogging around Florida, cooking French delicacies, and knitting intricate designs. If they don’t have any going on for them at the moment, help them revive old hobbies or start new ones. Perhaps they like music and would like to take guitar lessons in your city or attend virtual concerts.

man playing guitar

You can even schedule non-work related meetings where one team member teaches the rest how to do something they’re skilled at. Make sure everybody gets their turn, and find ways to amplify the fun. Individual creativity is essential in the overall creativity of your team. Go for whichever methods will best suit your organization’s needs.

Schedule Safe Personal Meetings

There’s nothing like working in person to force people’s minds into creative overdrive. With the world settling into the new normal, there’s no shortage of ways and venues you can take advantage of for safe personal meetings. You can have them once or twice a month, preferably outdoors and with all the necessary sanitation equipment at hand.

To ensure that you’ll maximize your time, assign tasks to each participating staff beforehand. Send out the agenda and have everyone prepare their insights for a more productive gathering.

Just Start

One of the biggest hindrances to a successful creative output is indecision. It’s understandable why you might be in a constant analysis paralysis due to remote work. The new environment and tools can be unnerving, but letting them overwhelm you to the point of inaction is one sure way to kill your team’s creative spirit.

Draft a timetable and do your best to stick to it. When you have an initial idea, and it’s time to work on it, just get started. Give you and your team a considerable margin for error, and don’t be afraid to make the needed adjustments along the way. What’s important is that you’re already creating something.

It Takes a Team

Uncertain times call for better teamwork, especially in dealing with tasks that require creativity. Give everyone a voice during brainstorming sessions, encourage self-care, plan personal meetings, and don’t be afraid to begin projects. Remote work may pose unique challenges that are difficult to overcome, but nothing can really get in the way of a true creative.

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