Working from home is a great idea for your career because it provides a lot of flexibility and control over your schedule. It also offers many benefits such as more time with family, less commuting time, and less office politics.
There are many advantages to working from home that can be both personal and professional. Working from home allows you to have more control over your schedule, which is an important factor for those who have family commitments.
When you first begin to work from home it can feel like a breath of fresh air. But as time goes on your concentration, productivity and creativity can begin to dip. In this article we’re going to focus on creativity and look at how to be creative when working from home.
Why is it hard to stay creative when working from home?
There are several reasons why our creativity may decline when we work from home. The first is that we don’t have the same level of social interaction that we would if we were in an office setting. This lack of social interaction can lead to a decline in our creativity and productivity as we have nobody to bounce ideas off of.
The second reason is a feeling of familiarity with where we choose to work in the house. Working on the kitchen table or the sofa which we use every day can prevent us from entering the proper “work mode” we would be in at the office.
When working from home we can easily fall into the trap of getting lost in our work and not taking the time to take a step back and consider the wider picture and apply creative thinking to our work and how we operate.
Fortunately, there are things we can do to help us get our creativity levels up at home.
When working from home it’s easy to grow bored and check your Facebook every other minute. This distracts from coming up with new ideas. To have increased creativity, it is necessary to counteract those temptations and take a step back to brainstorm new ideas.
To give ourselves the freedom to brainstorm we may need to change our location, go into another room away from our laptop or go for a walk. For some, we might just need to turn our phones off.
Brainstorming ideas can be done as simply as taking out a paper and pen and scribbling down whatever thoughts come into your head. Others might find value in introducing a whiteboard to your home working area and using that as your home of ideas.
Others might want to use online mind map tools such as Mindmeister.
Mind Mapping Explained and Demonstrated in Five Minutes! – YouTube
Break up the day
Creativity is a skill that can be improved. It can be improved by taking breaks from work, working on different tasks, and even by working in different environments.
The best way to improve creativity is to take breaks from work. Breaks are important because they allow the brain to rest and recharge so that it can come up with new ideas when it returns to the task at hand.
A survey by Airtasker showed that the number one method for remote workers staying productive is taking more breaks! Forbes also agrees with this.
As well as mixing up your tasks or working in different environments, consider leaving the house to get some fresh air. You could even take with you a small notepad and pen and find a quiet bench or coffee shop to sit and scribble down your ideas.
When you’re stuck, it’s important to remember that creativity is a muscle. The more you use it, the easier it becomes to find inspiration.
In order to find inspiration when you’re stuck, think about what inspires you and then do something that’s similar. For example, if you’re a photographer inspired by nature, go for a hike or take pictures of nature. If you’re an aspiring author inspired by books, read a book or write in your journal about your own story.
There are many ways to find inspiration when you’re stuck:
- Take a break from the task at hand and do something else for a while
- Talk with someone and challenge each other to come up with new ideas
- Look at people doing similar things online, can you copy or learn from them?
- Draw on past experiences, what creative ideas and concepts have worked for you in the past, can they be tweaked or modified and used once again?
Working from home can be a great way to boost your creativity. However, it is important to continue to talk with your colleagues and share ideas with them. This will help you stay in touch with the latest trends and developments in not only your organisation but also your industry.
It is also important to remember that working from home does not mean you are alone. You can still work on projects with other people remotely, which will make it easier for you to collaborate and share ideas.
Socialising with colleagues doesn’t always have to be about work-related matters, you can talk about anything, you never know where your next creative spark and million-dollar idea is going to come from.
Check E-Mails less often
When we find ourselves in a position where we are feeling creative and productive, we can soon be thrown out of this by seeing that little notification appear in the corner of our screen which says a new email has arrived.
Sometimes the email is irrelevant or spam and we don’t care, but other times it could be from our manager or have a subject line that makes you feel compelled to open it and react to it. In doing so this has now taken you off task and is making you reactive to somebody else’s needs rather than productive and creative in your own needs.
Consider checking your emails less often in a day to help you complete the tasks that are most important to you.
In 2014 a study by Kostadin Kushlev and Elizabeth W.Dunn showed that limiting the frequency of checking email throughout the day reduced daily stress.
Set up a workspace that promotes creativity
Working from home is a trend that has been on the rise in recent years. It is not surprising that people are looking for ways to make their home office more conducive to creativity and productivity.
The first thing to consider when setting up your workspace is the lighting. The best type of lighting for a workspace is natural light because it provides the most consistent and reliable light source. If you don’t have access to natural light, then use artificial lighting that mimics natural light as closely as possible. You should make sure that the lighting in the room is bright enough so you don’t get eye strain or headaches while working on your computer screen all day long.
The next thing to consider when setting up your workspace is the furniture. You should choose furniture that will not distract you from your work and will promote creativity and focus instead of distracting you from what you are doing.
You should have a desk or table that is big enough for all your work-related items, such as your laptop, printer, phone charger, etc. You should also have a comfortable chair with good back support so you can sit comfortably for long periods of time and if needed a high-quality footrest.
Boost your creativity by always having something to write on close by. It could be a notebook, sticky notes or a whiteboard. Whenever an idea hits you, write it down before you forget it and move on to something else.