As a remote worker, there's one issue I often have to face. Sometimes, I feel like I start working on autopilot. This also happened when I worked in an office environment, but at least I had people nearby to encourage me. A lull in the workday could be cured by a little bit of water cooler conversation. But at home, I don't have those resources.
This is one of the few cons compared to the many pros of remote work. Remember, any work environment will have its strengths and weaknesses. The good news is that it can be easily remedied. There are plenty of ways to inspire your remote team to get a little more creative. Here are a few good methods.
Visual presentations are a lot more fun. They can also appeal to workers who often stare at text on a computer screen all day. Much like bringing a dog into the office can relieve stress, dog photos — or just any sort of cute and heartwarming image — can refresh the minds of remote employees. If you have fun with your presentation, your employees will have fun watching it and look forward to brainstorming ideas with you.
If they opened up with a suggestion, it just means that others on your team probably had similar ideas but didn't have the confidence to voice them first. Remind your remote team that every idea is accepted, even if it may be slightly ridiculous. Feel free to let your remote coworkers talk out loud and explore ideas without fear of embarrassment. It's hard for some people to open up, especially if they're not very confident. Prove to them that you value their input.
If you have an arrangement with your remote employees that isn't hourly, you can request that they watch something that might inspire them. If not, consider letting them watch it during work time, especially if you feel like it's a piece of media that'll encourage some incredible ideas. Some suggestions include TEDTalks and even the documentary Steve Jobs: One Last Thing. Seeing the thought process of other creatives may inspire them to think outside the box.
Good ideas happen when we least expect them to. Maybe it's something they think up in the middle of the night, or just in the shower that morning. It's hard for these same ideas to spontaneously pop up just in time for your weekly meeting. Encourage your employees to write down all ideas right after they have them. Even if it's something that doesn't pan out, a weaker idea may always be the stepping stone to something bigger.
Even if your remote workers are conferencing in, they'll still have a good glimpse at the office environment. Make sure your meeting space has a lot of light, and keep the workspace clean. Colors also make a big difference. According to Hunker, colors have both psychological and physiological influences. They believe that colors such as green, purple, and orange help creative minds.
Remote employees are used to doing jobs solo. If you encourage them to team up with each other, or even team up with an in-house employee, it will help them brainstorm on a completely different level. It'll also help your remote employees feel included as part of the organization.
Be kind with your words, especially for new team members who may be learning your company's culture and lingo. Communication can often be a huge roadblock when it comes to encouraging your workers. That's why you want to be open as possible, and give them feedback. Tell them the strengths of their ideas, or what you need more of. Show them examples, and be patient. Sometimes, truly creative ideas might not happen right away.
Remember, you hired all of these bright minds for a reason. By encouraging them to work together and think outside the box, you'll be able to gather plenty of creative ideas that can make your company stand out from the rest.