2020 and 2021 have seen an immense shift to full remote work for professionals due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has been a significant change from commuting to the office every day. The switch has been both positive and negative for those with creative jobs. Specifically, on their ability to work creatively and produce creative content.
We talked to some of the creatives about the ways remote work influences their creativity, how they define the challenges of remote work, and if they see any advantages of working from home.
Idea Generation Process 2.0
Have you ever been in a boardroom and felt talked over, your ideas ignored, and underappreciated? In an in-person brainstorming session, it’s easy to revert to groupthink where one idea is praised in fear of suggesting an idea others may disagree with.
However, this only leads to a discussion of a narrow group of ideas. The idea that may be the best may also be the one that’s underappreciated in that particular meeting. When we are working remotely it’s easier to cast out all sorts of ideas because we don’t have that in-person critical judgment upon us.
Remote work offers way more flexibility that can be handy for a creative professional. When working remotely, there’s no dress code to follow and a less strict timeline of when you clock in and out of work. As long as you’re getting the job done, it doesn’t matter as much if you’re working a traditional 9-5.
For some people, creativity strikes at odd hours like the early morning or late night. In fact, according to a survey held by Dustin Wax, most people experience peak creativity at 10 pm and the lowest levels of creativity at 4:30 pm.
This peak creative time may vary based on if you’re a night owl or a morning riser, but the concept of flexibility in remote work still stands. There’s also flexibility in where you work. Perhaps you’re more creative outside. As long as you have Wi-Fi, you can work from wherever. This change of location will leave you buzzing with creativity and new ideas.
Thanks to this newfound flexibility, Marlene Sharp, founder and executive producer of LA-based entertainment consultancy Pink Poodle Productions, introduced new habits into her daily routine. And those had an immensely positive impact on her work.
The last year was the most productive for me, because I worked extra hard on my mental health. Incentivizing myself with frequent walks outside the home office – with my canine co-worker Blanche – has helped immensely! I’ve also used crazy en route observations as the basis for humor writing (which is a part of my current, on-the-job to-do list).
What is the most challenging aspect of working from home? The lack of human interaction. Especially for extroverts, this isolation can hinder creativity.
For those that come up with their best ideas around the company of others, coming up with these ideas alone can be challenging. Isabella Cruz, a freelance graphic designer, says: “The truth is that working in a team enriches you in many ways. Even the laughter among mates does you good and provides you with ideas.”
The darker side of remote labor is lack of in-person contact for productive collaboration (especially on complex creative projects, such as art and script reviews) and overall camaraderie. However, one is able to mitigate excessive navel-gazing with a double-down on podcast consumption amidst multitasking. – Marlene
We also have to remember to relax while working from home. The times when we’re enjoying ourselves can spark some of our best creative ideas. It’s easy to work 24/7 when we’re isolated, but those times of fun and laughter can actually help your work if you let it.
Less Time for Commuting
Most of us see this new change that’s come from the rise in remote work as a positive. But that depends on who you ask. For some, not having to commute to work can save a lot of time that they can dedicate to boosting their creativity.
The remote work situation has a lot of positive impact on several things, like traffic, and in my case, productivity and creativity. – he says
Marlene also shares:
The lack of a commute gives me 2-3 extra hours per day. A sliver of that often goes toward a power nap, the benefits of which are priceless!
However, for others, the commute to work may be where some of the best ideas come to fruition. The moments on a train, bus, or car can serve as alone time, dedicated to contemplating the ideas.
Creativity Over Productivity
Over the past year and a half, we’ve seen a shift from a focus on productivity as the end goal to a focus on creativity. This comes from no longer having to work a traditional 9-5 and instead of letting creativity be the leading factor for when we start work and end work.
It’s still important to get all of your work done on time, but this push towards remote work allows us to complete jobs at odd hours and in odd places that spark creativity and challenge the status quo.
More Trust from Employers
Along with all the other positives associated with remote work comes the fact that employers develop more trust towards their employees. Some would argue that this was not the case during the traditional in-office hours.
The recent developments in the last 1,5 years of remote working positively changed this. It is great to see that employers and people were forced to take this step and trust their people in a remote situation.
With more trust comes more freedom to create. Employers give their employees more autonomy in when they work, where they work, and the other flexible options we discussed earlier. This trust allows employees to try and fail without fear.
Difficulty in Collaborating
Another way in which remote influences creativity is a difficulty in collaborating. When we aren’t up-to-date with remote collaboration software, explaining your idea to your co-workers in detail can feel like a puzzle you need to solve. Or a technological glitch you need to overcome. Quickly you lose steam, start to doubt your idea, and eventually never send it.
Finding the right tools for collaboration while working remotely is the key here. Software like Krock.io helps teams to review and manage creative work from the brief to the finished project. This way, you and your team can focus on fostering your creativity rather than questioning how you even get your idea out to the people that need to hear it.
Remote work is here to stay, never the less what you might prefer. Personally, I prefer staying at the office, but I love the freedom that comes with it, and the possibility to choose gives great flexibility.
So what does remote work offer to creatives? We have more autonomy of choice with remote work, which in turn, can allow our creativity to run freely. After almost two years of working from home, it’s unlikely we will revert to a traditional office culture 5 days a week. Embrace the new normal and begin to use remote work as an aid to your creativity, rather than a hindrance.
1. What are the challenges of remote work for creative teams?
- difficulties in collaboration
- lack of social life
- lack of a “true brainstorming” feeling
- time-management hustle
2. What are the advantages of remote work for creative teams?
- less time wasted on commuting
- more trust from employers
- more flexibility
- better work-life balance