As we're creeping towards the anniversary of the first UK lockdown (whilst in lucky lockdown no. 3), it's fair to say that most people are very much used to their new way of working.
It goes without saying that working from home definitely has its pros and cons. Removing the commuting time, for example, leaves an extra couple of hours in the day for other activities, yet simultaneously means we tend to be enclosed within the same four walls for hours on end. We've all taken the time to reflect on the bits we like and don't like about homeworking, but there are some less obvious changes that we might not even be aware of.
One of the great things about working in an office, or away from home, is that you shift your perspective to an environment that is different to where you normally spend your personal life. A change in surroundings offers new stimuli for creativity and enables you to collaborate with other people. Replicating that same setting virtually is near-impossible.
Creativity relies so much on your mindset with environment playing a vital role. This isn't just an issue for artists or poets but for anyone that needs to be inspired to think outside the box and come up with new ideas, whether that's writing a new piece of thought leadership or solving a pressing business issue.
So how do you substitute the usual channels of inspiration when you're bound to your own home? Here are a couple of simple tips:
Walking: Ok ok, I know that most of us have probably worn our feet down to a pulp during the COVID period, but don't underestimate its power! Walking alone in some fresh air, without music or a podcast playing, allows you to really listen to your own thoughts and observe the world around you.
Change your routine: It's great to have a dedicated homeworking space and a schedule to achieve your tasks for the day but one of the benefits of working from home is the flexibility it gives you. Even if it's switching where you are sitting for a couple of hours, a change in schedule can help refresh your mind.
Virtual Team Catch Ups: Even though it's hard to recreate those serendipitous moments with your colleagues in the office, putting in time to socialise with others can inspire new thoughts. Trying to force collaborative creativity might not work but regularly socialising may inspire new ideas when you least expect it. In our Client Success team at Passle we have an informal team chat at the end of each day which can sometimes lead to conversations we wouldn't have had in deliberate meetings.
Read: Rather than passively scrolling through news articles you're not fully absorbing, take the time to sit down and really engage with a variety of different topics and sources.
Working from home can sometimes offer a barrier to creative thought, which you might not even know is there, but by making a bit of an effort to switch your scenery and shift your mindset you don't have to be limited by the four walls around you.
“Homeworking can starve us of many of these creative raw ingredients — the chance conversation, the new person or idea or environment. Homeworking means serendipity is supplanted by scheduling, face-to-face by Zoom.” (Andy Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England)