Keeping Creativity High In A Remote Workspace

Author: Devon Baker
Posted: Jan 12, 2021

The name of the game is adaptability. With each day the landscape of how we interact with each other shifts; and like the intuitive people we are, we’ve taken it in stride. With the right resources and determination, the office space is merely a construct that is only limited by one’s imagination. With the use of technology, people can interact from wherever they may be. It can be as simple as a chat group, or a more personal video chat. Distance is no longer a limitation when it comes to meeting face-to-face (resolution quality may vary).

With so many digital tools available to us, the remaining challenge is to iron out those interactions that don’t flow as well when not everyone is physically in the same location. Specifically, when it comes to creative collaboration, it can take some acclimation. Here are some methods to replace a face-to-face interaction with a virtual counterpart. Here's your checklist for staying creative at work. At home. 

  1. Good collaboration includes a constant flow of ideas, progress and feedback. In the office, this can be achieved by calling over a fellow creative to check-in on a concept, pulling together multiple people to brainstorm on a white board, or printing physical copies to be marked up by a group. The goal is to replicate that environment through remote means.
  2. Text chat can be instrumental in streamlining feedback on creative projects. It’s great when you need eyes on something quick. Simply upload whatever you’re working on through chat to get feedback and work through suggestions in a matter of minutes. Text chat is perfect for getting in and out with short but helpful input. Though, it may not be enough when you need a face-to-face conversation to get a complex point across.
  3. The best substitute for trotting over to someone’s desk to talk through some ideas is a matter of clicking a phone icon to start a video chat. Upon starting a video chat you’re face-to-face with your team member in a matter of seconds— very similar to swiveling in your chair to the person sitting behind you. Achieving natural conversation through video is the first step, the second is to replicate the act of a real time critique of the creative you’re working on. It wouldn’t be the same without someone pointing at your screen to say, “That line needs to be redrawn” or “Can this be bigger?” This interactive touch is necessary to achieve the feeling of a meeting where everyone is looking at the same thing, making suggestions and interacting with the environment in tandem with responses.

The ability to share your screen is one of the many examples of how to mimic some of the natural interaction that is lost when communicating virtually. In applications like, Microsoft Teams and Zoom, clicking on the share screen button in the middle of the action bar allows you to choose to share your entire desktop or specific applications or files. In combination with video chat, I can show a graphic or a Word Doc or some inspiration and get reactions instantly, with real time instructions. Someone could mention zooming in on a section of the graphic, rewinding a video or adding onto a brainstorm list in Word. It’s as though we’re all looking at the same projector screen or white board in a meeting room.

There’s also a similar feel if someone uses the chat function during a FaceTime meeting to add documents and files for the group to look over. This ability to discuss face-to-face, while directly engaging with creative assets is key to replicating the environment of a collaborative meeting and the natural interactions that allow for efficient communication and evolving concepts.

The new normal is an office built in the virtual world, where our lives are shared through a screen and work is done miles away from each other. Modern problems call for modern solutions and though human interaction is irreplaceable in the realm of creative collaboration, it has far from disappeared. With the tools at our disposal we can still find our way to the office, it’s just through a different highway.

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