Creativity: A Working Model For Heading Back Into The Office
Many workplaces are heading back into the office. This is taking unique forms for businesses; many teams are looking for innovative ways to navigate this transition. While there are lots to celebrate and plan for, we gained some qualities while working from home that we can reclaim during this transition.
It’s fairly obvious to point out that time and space between personal and professional have been blurred over the past 500+ days of working from home. Employees who realized more vital and uninterrupted thinking time might be missing when they go back into the office.
One of the things that I hear from members of teams I consult with is that they experienced more creativity because of the increased time and space afforded in remote work. Various studies suggest that the Pandemic prompted increased creative responses due to surges in stress coupled with more space to respond to the stress resourcefully.
As well, the increases in creativity during the Pandemic may also be, in part, because of the comforts of home surrounded people. Due to the lack of commutes and the comfortable surroundings, we had more time to play, experiment, learn, and think. For instance, the number of people that took up new hobbies and learned new skills skyrocketed during the pandemic.
In small teams or as a whole, most organizations are expected to be creative and innovative at work. If this rings true for your team, there are a few things we can learn from the remarkably creative and very funny John Cleese.
He breaks down the five factors to make our lives (and work) more creative in this talk.
- Space: “You can’t become playful and therefore creative if you’re under your usual pressures.” Give yourself and your team space to be playful. One company I work with has set up outside meeting areas in a garden, for instance. Carving out space while at the office or working from home becomes a fertile playground for fresh thinking.
- Time: “It’s not enough to create space; you have to create your space for a specific period of time.” For instance, brainstorming meetings give people space to roam with ideas and time to allow ideas to rise to the surface. The best ideas usually aren’t the first ones.
- Time: “Giving your mind as long as possible to come up with something original,” and learning to be patient with the discomfort of thinking time and indecision. Allow ideas to come to you instead of chasing them.
- Confidence: “Nothing will stop you being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake.” Again, brainstorming or ideation sessions give people the space to throw out crazy or “bad” ideas. Anyone afraid of being made a fool hesitates to be creative.
- Humor: “The main evolutionary significance of humor is that it gets us from the closed mode to the open mode quicker than anything else.” Humor is a marker for intelligence and opens our minds to new ways of thinking and seeing.
The one-minute video is well worth an entire watch if you want to glean and apply John Cleese’s operating model for creativity and apply it to your culture.
He concludes the talk with a beautiful expression of his method for creativity:
“This is the extraordinary thing about creativity: If just you keep your mind resting against the subject in a friendly but persistent way, sooner or later you will get a reward from your unconscious.”— John Cleese
Mr. Cleese notes that “Creativity is not a talent. It’s a way of operating.” Just as all skills within cultures are underscored through the values, the organization operationalizes, these skills are also taught through training, reward, and encouragement.
Organizations have a ripe opportunity to help team members transition back into the office with a strong sense of psychological safety in this delicate transition juncture. And, they also have the opportunity to reclaim and insert some of the benefits we realized from remote working and living.
Steve can help you create an integrated belief-driven business that can reach and align with more of the right people —employees, customers, donors and investors—in a sustainable and meaningful way.