During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are doing our part to flatten the curve by becoming full-time remote workers. It has definitely been an adjustment, even for somebody like myself who already worked from home two days a week.
One of the biggest adjustments of the sudden transition from a full-time office worker to a full-time remote worker is the change in your workflow, especially when it comes to creativity. When you’re used to collaborating face-to-face with your coworkers, working from home can sometimes take away from the natural creativity that flows through those conversations. During brainstorming sessions in particular, it may be easier and more natural for people to come up with ideas during dynamic, in-person conversations. So, how can you get the same result when you aren’t in the same room together?
Luckily, your creativity doesn’t have to suffer just because you’re working from home – you just have to redefine how you can tap into that mindset. To see the best ways to effectively brainstorm while working remotely, keep reading!
Get into the brainstorming mindset
In a time like this, it’s becoming increasingly important to think of ideas that are truly outside of the box. But you can’t do that if you aren’t in the right mindset to brainstorm. You can set yourself up for a good brainstorming session with the following tips:
1. Give your brain a break.
One of the best things about working from home is that you aren’t surrounded by the natural stressors of the office. At home, you can more easily take time to give your brain a break from your to-do list, while still producing the same quality of work you do in the office.
Before you get ready to brainstorm, step away from your computer for a few minutes so you can take your mind off your tasks. Stressing out about what you have to complete will only hinder your creativity, which can affect your brainstorming efforts. But, taking some time to refocus your mind can help you not only tap into your creative side, but also prevent you from feeling overwhelmed with work altogether.
2. Create a distraction-free environment.
Another benefit of working from home is that you don’t have to be affected by the distractions that come with the workplace. Being around your coworkers is nice, but it’s easy to get sucked into any of the random questions and discussions that happen around you, which can divert your attention away from being creative. At home, you have the ability to set up an environment you need to get your creative juices flowing. Whether it’s in your office, kitchen, or patio, create your own ideal working environment and prepare to start thinking of some amazing ideas.
3. Take advantage of what you’re allowed to do at home.
Working from home also allows you to take time for yourself and establish a new “normal” routine. Being able to sleep in later, avoid the long commute, and not have to wear a work outfit saves you the time and effort of the morning grind. Take the few extra minutes you have here and there to do what makes you feel ready to take on the day.
During the day, you can go for walks, listen to music, or even have the TV on in the background while working (as long as it’s not a distraction!). Any of these activities can help stimulate your brain. You’d be surprised at the number of normal activities that can spark a truly imaginative idea.
Don’t be afraid to bring the team together
Even though you’re physically alone as you’re working from home, that doesn’t mean you can’t come together with your coworkers in other ways. There are many video conferencing apps like Google Hangouts, Zoom, and Skype, that your team can use to stay connected.
By bringing the team together virtually, you can still take advantage of all the luxuries that an in-person conversation provides. Use these virtual brainstorming sessions to build on each other’s ideas the same way you would in the office, but try to be much more intentional about letting people have the floor so everyone has a chance to be heard.
Other ways you can use video conferencing to your advantage include:
1. Use your unique environment to drive conversations.
When you’re in the office, you and your team have the same surroundings. When you’re at home, everyone has a unique set-up, allowing you to have individual experiences while brainstorming. Don’t be afraid to talk about the Netflix show you have running in the background, the coffee you made, or what your dog is currently getting into. These individual experiences can drive diverse conversations and inspire everyone to come up with new ideas.
2. Use video conferencing outside of actual meetings.
Even if your team already has brainstorming sessions scheduled, it never hurts to hop on a video call outside of normal meetings for a quick chat, or just to catch-up. See if any of your coworkers want to “hang out” for a few minutes after work to unwind and discuss the day. Sometimes, the best ideas are conceived when you aren’t actively trying to brainstorm.
3. Speak up whenever you can – any idea is a good idea.
Try to speak up whenever you can during your team’s brainstorming session. Even if it’s more comfortable to mute yourself, if you don’t participate, it only hurts your team in the long run. Virtual meetings aren’t as organic as in-office meetings, so it’s important to get the most out of these sessions. Any idea or comment is valuable to a brainstorm. And who knows – once you do speak up, your idea could be the next big campaign!
In the end, the new normal of working from home will continue to be an adjustment to many of us. There are potentially more distractions and less human interaction. And some people may just dislike not being able to truly separate work from their home. But, by allowing yourself to take in the comforts of being at home while finding ways to keep yourself motivated and inspired, you may just surprise yourself with how productive and creative you can be.