Here in 2020, virtually every aspect of life has been turned on its head in the aftermath of global pandemic. In the workplace, the changes are especially striking — what were once dynamic open office and co-working spaces suddenly became ghost towns, empty and virtually devoid of life. Isolation has become the new norm in the workplace, and you may find yourself uninspired, your creative juices brought to a standstill.
But despite physical distance, remote work doesn’t have to be synonymous with loneliness and stifled creativity. Some companies, in fact, have managed to keep their workplace culture intact, not to mention fun and forward-thinking, using solely digital channels. You don’t have to go as far as welcoming a llama into a company conference call, but you can still foster a lively and collaborative workplace culture, post-COVID.
Today, we must take a vastly different approach to workplace culture than ever before, and incorporate new strategies into future collaborations. In order to find creative inspiration while facing an uncertain future, you must be willing to do what it takes, even if that means stepping out of your comfort zone. To begin with, you’ll need to become comfortable with remote networking tools and platforms, especially if you hope to land a new job during this time.
Finding Your Place in a Changed World
Despite its challenges, however, there are various perks to working remotely, and you may find that the lifestyle is even more conducive to your creative endeavors. For starters, you have more freedom in regards to place. Remote work affords creatives in virtually every industry the chance to choose the setting in which they feel the most productive.
You may find that you do your best work when surrounded by nature, for example. Throughout history, countless creative types have turned to the natural world for inspiration: One notable example is the renowned painter Vincent Van Gogh. In 1882, the artist penned a letter to his brother, Theo, in which he wrote, “…if I felt no love for nature and my work, then I would be unhappy.”
Those who share a similar sentiment in regards to nature as a source of inspiration now have plenty of opportunity to work in the great outdoors. Interestingly, your outdoor work experience can even serve as a future career-booster: For starters, unconventional work experience helps your resume stand out in a competitive creative work landscape, as well as helping you grow as a person.
Yet the benefits of remote work span even further, in regards to creativity, motivation, and even accommodation.
Benefits of a Digital Workforce
Along with social distancing in the name of public health, inclusivity is one of the most prominent issues in the modern world. For those with disabilities, whether physical or related to mental health, the challenges of in-office work can be overwhelming. Further, the commute itself is often daunting for those living with a disability.
Work from home jobs thus broaden the job pool considerably, to the benefit of workers and companies alike. The Economic Secretariat reports that companies with disabled employees on their payroll outperform their competitors by about 30%. From a worker standpoint, those same numbers can be applied to your creative output as well.
As we continue to navigate a complex post-COVID world, disabled and able-bodied creatives alike should harness the myriad opportunities presented by remote work. And make no mistake: Work culture must remain at the center of the process, even as your collaboration channels remain digital. You can still achieve intimacy and trust despite physical distance, while keeping your artistic vision intact.
Integrating Digital Work with Creativity
For those of us who are used to working in close proximity to our fellow creatives, remote work can come as quite a culture shock. What’s more, you may not be familiar with the digital tech and/or tools that have become crucial to life, post-pandemic. In today’s digital landscape, you simply can’t keep workplace culture alive without video conferencing technology, especially apps.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the video messaging platform Zoom was becoming increasingly ubiquitous around the world, in settings ranging from business conferences to weddings. Other popular video messaging platforms used in remote work settings include Skype and Google Hangouts, and they are overwhelmingly user friendly.
It’s important to note that no single app or platform is necessarily better than another, when it comes to cultivating digital workplace culture: Depending on the type of work you do and your artistic needs, you may find that a particular tool serves you better.
The abrupt switch to remote work continues to challenge many of us, but we can persevere and find new ways to cultivate and harvest creative projects, even in the face of an uncertain future. Instead of allowing distance to quash your once-exciting workplace culture, use remote work as a catalyst for creativity. Whether you feel more comfortable working from your cozy home office or in the great outdoors, creativity and work culture are alive and well online.
(Featured image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/Hr3p1K6UI_s)