We know that productivity is not impacted by remote work—in fact, many reports suggest that it’s improved—but what about creativity? Or collaboration? Zoom took off at the start of the pandemic, but it’s not always the best tool for idea-sharing and brainstorming. In this new world of remote and hybrid work configurations, how can teams prioritize a culture that cultivates, celebrates, and encourages creativity and collaboration? 

As a fully remote digital marketing agency, we’ve had a lot of practice with this. We’ve tried various tools, researched best practices, and brainstormed different tactics. Here is our advice for centering creativity and collaboration across teams.

The Current State of Remote Working

More than 4.7 million people work remotely in the United States at least half the time, and 16% of companies around the world are fully remote. The overwhelming majority of folks—a whopping 97%—would like to work remotely for the rest of their career. Being remote full or part time is simply the new reality for many people working office jobs. 

Unfortunately, despite the pros, many have reported that working at home leaves them feeling uninspired, especially when it comes to creative tasks. We all know and love the feeling of bouncing ideas around with a colleague until lightning strikes. That’s difficult to do when you’re talking to a screen or sitting alone in your quiet home. And, let’s face it, floating a thought by a coworker over Slack just doesn’t have the same effect as turning around in your chair. 

Luckily, there are many ways to keep creativity and collaboration alive—all you need are some fresh ideas and some patience as you discover what works best for you and your team. 

How to Encourage Creativity and Collaboration in Remote Working

Start by assessing your team’s composition and needs. Is the structure you had prior to going remote still working? Consider implementing an agile team structure, typically made up of people with various skill levels, strengths, and disciplines. These types of teams tend to weather remote and hybrid environments best. 

Next, take a good look at your communication. Are all your team’s meetings necessary? Is communication efficient and timely? Chances are there are ways to streamline communication so that no one is being bogged down by unnecessary meetings and excessive Slacks—the ultimate creativity killer. 

Once you’ve laid the foundation for creativity and collaboration to thrive, let your team get into a flow. Honor each individual’s way of thinking, creating, and brainstorming so that everyone has a chance to put their best and most creative foot forward. This is more of an art than a science, and it will likely take time. But give it a chance and let the caliber of work—and happiness of your team—speak for itself. 

Advice from a Remote Marketing Agency

Here are some specific ways our digital marketing agency has made space for creativity and collaboration. 

  • Bring some fun to every meeting. We always share a round of good news or speak to a fun prompt at the beginning of an internal meeting. It sets the tone and mimics some of the lighthearted small talk you miss from working in an office. 
  • Working—and walking—meetings. Although it’s not always possible to meet in person, we find that going for a walk with a colleague instead of meeting via Zoom breathes some welcome fresh air into the conversation. If a walk isn’t possible, having an unstructured working meeting, where the goal is to simply collaborate on a task, allows more space for creative thought and problem solving.
  • Designate days for heads-down work. Thursdays are no-meeting days at Mad Fish. We took stock of all the time we were spending in internal meetings, evaluated how we could streamline and consolidate them, and decided that a full day every week dedicated to heads-down work was in the best interest of our teams. It’s been a great way to build in time for more spontaneous collaboration and unstructured time, which helps boost creativity.
  • Choose tools and technologies that foster collaboration. We love Jamboard for working meetings. The virtual version of everyone getting together in a room and throwing ideas on a white board, Jamboard has proven an essential tool for ideating on anything from new strategies to JEDI efforts

Your Full Service Digital Marketing Agency

Whether you need a comprehensive marketing strategy or ongoing consultation work, we apply our creativity and collaboration towards being the best full service marketing agency for our clients. Contact us to learn more about our services and how we can help your business grow