It’s likely you’re missing some of the perks of an office environment — the breakroom snack jar, the unflinching wifi signal and that favourite quiet nook where you found you did your best work.
But the likeliest of all is that you’re missing your colleagues, and the intrinsic inspiration and motivation that would come from face-to-face interactions with them as you made your way around the office.
No need to worry — while we can’t give you back your co-workers, there are certainly ways to ignite the same a-ha moments you might draw from unexpected interactions with colleagues.
Here are a few ideas for turning your home office (even if it’s just a corner of the kitchen table) into an inspiring innovation hub, primed to jump-start creative juices and propel your productivity.
Sit on a new surface. When you hit a creative roadblock, a new perspective can be the key to unlocking bold and novel thoughts. Sitting on a different surface, say the floor, will force you to see the world with fresh eyes. When you do so, look around you. If on the floor, imagine you are experiencing the space as a bug, or a toddler, or the Cheerios embedded in your carpet. Taking a minute to change your literal point of view can be all you need to persevere through a home-based creative endeavor.
Play with toys. At ExperiencePoint, we regularly cover our workshop tables with building blocks, pipe-cleaners, Post-it notes, and stretchy toys. It may sound distracting, but the toys actually help participants to exercise different parts of their brains. The same principle works at home. When you need your next break, instead of checking Facebook, build a Lego building, draw a picture, or stack a tower of Jenga bricks on your coffee table. These mini activities will force your brain to engage with your body, helping you take your current work challenges in new directions.
Walk it off. If the innovative ideas aren’t quite flowing, get out of your chair and put your body in motion. Physical movement triggers mental movement, and can activate internal dialogue similar to the back-and-forths you might have with a colleague. As you take your stroll, walk through a current problem you’re facing in your work. Ask yourself challenging questions then answer them, and play your own devil’s advocate to push your mental boundaries out of the way.
Fall down a rabbit hole. If you are going to spend your downtime online, give up your traditional haunts and see where the world wide web can take you. Check out what’s trending on Twitter and learn everything you can about that topic. Ask your teenager what their favorite YouTube channel is, then spend 15 minutes trying to figure out why. Or watch a ‘how to’ video on something you’d never normally try. What about arm knitting, or kick-starting a dirt bike or juggling?) These short creative forays will give you a break from your daily routine, and possibly inspire some new ideas.
Let your open schedule inspire you. Remote workers are measured by what they produce, not how long they were at their desk. And while you may need to show up to the occasional Zoom meeting, managing your day will mostly be in your hands. Once you let go of that 9-5 vision of the world, you can figure out when you are personally most inspired. Maybe your best ideas occur at 5 a.m., or maybe you are more productive when you work in 90 minute sprints with long breaks in between. The added benefit of setting your own hours is that you can make time in the day for kids, and pets, and the rest of your life, while still meeting the needs of your team.
We hope these easy to implement ideas help you make your remote work experience a little more inspired, and make working from home more fun.