One of the biggest drawbacks of video or remote meetings can be low energy and a lack of “creative” brainstorming ability.
Being cooped up has been a challenge for many during the pandemic. Despite that feeling, many employees have reportedly found some joy in the work-from-home model and the flexibility that it provides. In fact, a lot of employees are preferring to move to a hybrid or entirely remote model.
Recent studies have been released regarding the efficacy of remote meetings and creativity. Many who work in creative realms are finding a prolonged stagnation of thought processes in remote meetings or teleconference calls. This can be incredibly problematic for workplaces who rely on innovative, creative, or groundbreaking ideas.
But – all is not lost. Fostering creativity starts at the managerial level and requires some proactive thought and inspiration. Here’s how to kickstart creative energy in your remote meetings.
Employees are Demanding more Remote (or Hybrid) Work
In a 2021 survey, 75% of US employees reported a personal preference for working remotely at least one day per week. Other studies have estimated that 20% of work days will take place remotely after the pandemic ends (compared to just 5% before). The only drawback is that employees are finding remote meetings to be creative energy killers. Here’s why:
Zoom is a Creativity Killer
In a recent study of 2,000 people, researchers found that those who were brainstorming remotely were able to come up with fewer ideas than those who were together in person. The sheer scale of difference between the two brainstorming groups surprised researchers but those who have sat on a ZOOM meeting or conference call would likely be quick to agree with the results of the study. So, how can managers solve this stagnant creativity? Here are a few methods to try:
How to Encourage Creativity in Remote Meetings
●Utilize your Team – Each person attends every meeting (remote or not) with their ideas, perspectives, and opinions. Engage others in new ways and draw them into the conversation without constructing “right or wrong” interactions.
●Use Technology to its Fullest – If you want others to get creative, you have to get creative yourself! As a manager, you’re driving the energy of the meeting. Find new ways to engage your staff through interactive quizzes, and team games, or start the meeting with an impromptu music trivia quiz.
●Breakout Groups to Kickstart Cooperation – While employees often outsmart interaction in large group engagements, it’s much harder to hide in a small group. Use breakout rooms to the fullest effect by encouraging small presentations or “recaps” of the breakout room discussion when you return to the full remote meeting.
●Don’t Rush the Meeting – While you may want to keep things on track in terms of agenda and timing, be sure to leave space. As a manager, sit back during silences and allow others to fill the gaps with their opinions and words. Sometimes, the greatest gems come from uncomfortable moments.
●Use Other Available Tools (like the Whiteboard) – ZOOM has a little-known feature called the “whiteboard” that can be a great way to collaboratively gather thoughts. It’s also visual which makes it fun to interact with. In terms of tools available, be sure that you’re looking for any way to engage with the software capabilities that you can. If there are other methods or software that you can utilize during a remote meeting to boost creativity – give it a shot!
Just because reported “creativity” has dropped because of remote meetings doesn’t mean that managers should be quick to rush people back to the office. Face-to-face meetings always have a time and place but great management will learn how to make remote meetings work too. Providing convenience, efficiency, and allowing your employees to be as productive as possible in the work model that they prefer is the best combination to retain talent.