Now that the majority of 2020 has been spent perfecting work-from-home strategies, experts warn that creativity could be taking a hit at work. Although research has proven that remote working is beneficial to productivity levels, creative sparks that derive from collaborative meetings are rare.
“In the best modern workplaces, there’s a range of different types of working environments all in the same building—this helps stimulate creativity as well as coworker bonding,” said Sally Augustin, a Chicago-area environmental and design psychologist.
Lionel Ohayon, CEO of design studio Icrave, says that his company has made an effort to keep workers engaged, but that they still miss in-person interactions that cannot be replicated on Zoom.
Additionally, some employees are at an advantage depending on their home situation. For instance, someone living in a cramped New York City apartment will likely have a harder time staying productive and engaged than those living in a farmhouse upstate.
However, the biggest challenge facing distributed workforces today is the loss of culture and employee experience. When workers cannot see each other face-to-face, communication breaks down.
“At work, we rely heavily on nonverbal communication, silent signals that you can’t pick up in calls,” said Augustin. “You might not realize that everyone else is having a Zoom call to which you’re not invited. Or that your boss is hunkered down with the door closed and seems pretty stressed.”