"Guys, I'm eating junk and watching rubbish all day long!" – Kevin McCallister, Home Alone. There is no other quote more accurate than this for a year like 2020. The constant juggle between cooking, cleaning, and team video calls have put us all on an automation mode and at times leave us feeling creatively stagnant. In these unprecedented times, we are still calibrating our work life as well as learning each day to prioritize and plan our daily tasks better. Undoubtedly, the global pandemic has changed the way we work, and we are steadily discovering new tricks of the trade to maintain productivity and efficiency. However, one aspect of work that got hugely impacted was our archaic team collaboration methods, thereby our creativity.
For an organization that thrives on creativity, this can be a big hurdle to jump over. How one can keep employees engaged? How to boost creativity in the new normal? What are the new practices that organizations can put in place to help maintain the momentum of innovation? These are a few questions that most companies are asking themselves today, to ensure that the creative quotient in a workflow doesn't get compromised.
- Bringing the crew closer: Working remotely can push people into a shell. While we can't make up for the presence of physical office space, what we can do is find innovative ways to connect virtually. For example, at Mirchi, we are constantly hosting several LIVE performances every other Friday, after work. Similarly, through different interactive activities like game nights, movie nights, fitness classes, and more, all employees not only continue to feel connected to the organization but also stay engaged with one another. These activities help get teams closer and develop a connection, something that's quite important for creativity.
- Nurturing knowledge: When the world comes to a standstill, it is often easy to forget that growth must continue. Offering training programs across verticals and encouraging employees to either brush up their skills, or learn a new skill altogether, enables new ways of thinking. These programs are especially beneficial during this time, given that we have the time to learn, and the opportunity to innovate more than ever.
- The more, the merrier: While projects and group activities have continued well into the lockdown, the diversity within them has not seen the degree of growth it needed. How do you come up with the idea that is out of the box? For that, you need to involve more people.
A great campaign idea is rarely a one-man job. It's simple math – the more you involve people from different backgrounds and experiences, the chances of arriving at a holistically creative idea increases. Bringing people together for a video call is a tad bit easier than getting them inside a brainstorming room. Managers play an important role here to identify relevant members from different teams and functions to form a core group. Allow and empower them to share and deliberate thoughts before narrowing down to the well-curated version of the creative idea. Therefore, the final product can be nurtured with expertise, voices, and creativity across diverse functions and levels.
- Individually creative: Time has been one difficult element to juggle and manage. As a company, we can share some simple tactics for each employee to help them manage their time, thoughts, and creative energies better. Promoting simple processes like packing up at a particular hour, taking an undisturbed lunch break, reflecting back on a day's work to see where they felt burned out, are some of the ways to organize tasks, thoughts, and work life. If employees do find extra time on their hands, they can be encouraged to participate in skill development projects and external assignments. This will help them to break away from the monotony and heighten their imaginative thinking.
- An army full of entrepreneurs: "You do You" - is a motto that must be literally implemented in work from home culture. This new working dynamic pushes every employee to take the onus of their actions. How can an organization help in this regard? Give each employee the decision-making power, give them the responsibility to lead projects, push them to be creatively proactive, and most importantly, trust them. If you lay that trust in your employees/colleagues, they will go the extra mile for you, and it will also encourage them to think outside the box, therefore become creative entrepreneurs.
While the pandemic has been extremely difficult for most companies as well as their employees, I would like to think of it as an opportunity rather than an obstacle. It is an opportunity for employees to get smarter, stronger, and emerge as innovative leaders of tomorrow.