The internet, cloud computing, and globalisation all have their part to play in the popularity of home working.
Working from home can reduce stress, making it easier for employees to combine work life and home life and, as a result, many organisations see it as a ‘perk of the job’ to allow employees to dial in rather than have to physically be in an office.
Every day 1.6 million people across the UK log on and work from home but, just because we can work from home, doesn’t necessarily mean we should. Could this propensity to work remotely be negatively impacting our creativity?
Creatives need inspiration and that inspiration typically comes from sights, sounds, and experiences out of ordinary.
There are certain activities often considered to stimulate the creative mind such as walking, being outdoors or taking a shower. In a study by cognitive scientist, Kaufman, 72% of people had creative ideas whilst in the shower. Kaufman believed this is because, in the shower we allow our minds to wander into a free state. There is another theory that the flowing water de-ionises the air, boosting the quality of the Oxygen, enabling improved connections to be made between the right brain (the creative brain) and the left brain (the logical brain).
Being able to fully immerse yourself in your creative thought process without distraction is another reason that homeworking is so popular among creatives. However, in this drive for convenience and increased productivity are we paying a higher price than we realise?
What are we missing out on when we work from home?
Working at home means not needing to leave the house – the place you spend probably the second largest number of waking hours. The same four walls, table and chairs, TV screen, constant hum of the refrigerator. There’s no external stimuli, no clever billboards to make you think, no interesting people to observe and ponder, and no latent time waiting for a train or bus. So, is home working cutting creative stimulus out of our daily routine?
Those 5 minutes of grabbing a coffee together, office banter, learning what other people did on the weekend and getting to know your team mates could be more productive than you realise.
In this article on Fortune.com, Tim Eisenhauer, President of Axero Solutions, explains how organisations such as Google, Zappos, LinkedIn and Facebook are increasingly encouraging employees to chat around the water cooler during their down-time, recognising the benefits it offers collaboration, productivity and its role in easing social anxiety.
Not only can these conversations be inspiration starters, but being comfortable within your team does more than improve the quality of your work life, it can also make you feel more at ease sharing ideas, concepts and thoughts with your colleagues. This kind of collaboration is essential for creativity, helping ideas to grow, identifying seeds for development and flaws within concepts.
So, whilst the benefits to creatives of working from home are well recognised, perhaps we should be giving equal weight to the importance of being in the office, with all the inspiration it can bring and the added team camaraderie, that make the creativity process easier to share and explore.