Covid-19 has created new obstacles for millions of companies globally, and one of the largest challenges has been the “working from home revolution.” According to the UK Governments study, in April 2020, 46.6% of people in employment across all sectors were made to clear their workspaces and head home to set up a home office, and 86% of those people doing this due to the Pandemic. Even though most employees, in the beginning, embraced their new working environments, as time progressed creativity, motivation and innovation levels hit an all-time low.
Luckily, innovative leaders and technology have ensured that there are ways around this, with numerous digital workspaces such as Slack, Zoom and Google Hangouts taking the lead to create a virtual office environment, there are numerous ways that you can spark innovation for your remote workers again.
1: Embrace the change.
After more than 6 months in lockdown, it is evident that remote employment will be extended by numerous organisations for longer periods. Finding the positives within the situation will boost employee determination and create a more positive environment, helping workers to embrace the change. Less commute and stressful business meetings are just two evident benefits that have derived from working from home but identifying the shifts in innovation are just as important as it can help employees to begin thinking outside of the box. Leveraging old methods of work and putting a modernized twist on them can create a more positive working environment and embrace the changes.
2: Make outcomes of work clear/clarify goals.
Ensuring that goals and objectives are clear for all employees will also boost innovation across the board. Self-management has become the new norm, with workers having to balance their work and home lives all under one roof while ensuring self-reflection and work discipline is being carried out efficiently. Encouraging creative freedom while being out of sight without the pressures of presenting finished work every time an employee is on the screen in a virtual meeting will ensure that Innovation is still being carried out, without destroying worker morale.
Communicating objectives and goals for new creative ideas will ensure that innovation is not on the backburner of the organisation, and when goals are completed congratulating workers efforts will make employees feel empowered, valued, and important. Remembering that they are doing their absolute best to make the best out of a challenging situation while still being willing to innovate and learn will go a long way.
3: Communication can spark breakthrough innovation.
Communication methods have been reimagined, with Google Meets and Zoom becoming the new professional meeting spaces, leveraging these platforms and rethinking what it means for your organisation to be connected will ensure that tension is eased and connectedness is reinforced. With a sense of togetherness, new ideas will flourish and worker motivation will be elevated.
Casual conversation is usually the driving force when it comes to innovation within a business, so finding new ways to create organic and thought-provoking conversations through online office hours where employees can drop in for a casual conversation will be beneficial, whiteboard simulation apps can be used during real-time digital meetings in shared presenter mode to spark ideas, talking about non-related topics and later referring back to the relevant conversation, frequent 1:1 digital drop-ins and encouraging cameras and microphones to be active during meetings will help people to feel more engaged through facial expressions and body language.
4: Educate employees on the importance of innovation.
Making time and allocating resources to skills workshops and innovation training programmes/sessions can be an exciting change for your employees. They have been proven to be beneficial for numerous organisations as they can enhance the creative potential of employees. Internal or external mentoring are great ways to keep workers engaged and inspired, with external sources often giving a fresh perspective and outside the box ideas. Emphasizing teamwork within the process of innovation is key, ideas often thrive when in a collaborative environment through emphasised employee culture, learning from each other and redefining etiquette for building trust.
5: Spark breakthrough innovation.
Innovative breakthroughs can come from the simplest of human reactions such as a casual conversation while in the break room at the office, or a passing comment that sparks ideas. Re-humanising interactions between employees have proven to be difficult in a harsh digital climate, but there are many ways that an organisation can assist this process further for those working from home. Being mindful of employees struggles and showing them that you consider their feelings will lift levels of engagement through being understanding.
Authentic emotional experiences are known to be advantageous for levels of creativity and are more important than ever when they are working from home, so re-humanising interactions will help to generate these experiences even in a digital environment. Online office hours where employees can easily drop in for chats and catch-ups are just one way you can help to spark innovation through a more natural environment being created, casual conversations will have lasting positive effects on your workers’ creativity.
Finding new ways to keep your remote workers engaged and innovation in a Post-Pandemic era has proven to be a challenge, but it is beneficial for you and your business and can even set you ahead within your industry.
The R&D Tax Credits Incentive by the UK Government can give you the chance to claim back money for your innovation efforts, and at Green Jellyfish we are specialists in R&D Claims. To find out more click here.