Oct 20, 2023
5 mins read
You hear a lot about productivity in remote and hybrid these days. But what about creativity and collaboration in hybrid work settings?
As Dominic Price noted in Atlassian, “Most companies are so fixated on productivity metrics that they don’t allow the time and mental breathing space creativity requires.”
For many people, being in a physical office is somehow equated to automatically fostering creativity and collaboration, but even when teams are together in one place, an intentional effort needs to be made.
Add in the complication that hybrid work settings don’t often bring teams together at the same time (or even in the same place).
But with a thoughtful approach that blends technology, culture, and management strategies, creativity and collaboration in a hybrid work setting can not only be fostered, but it can truly thrive.
Choose your collaborative tools wisely. And decide very carefully which ones will be used for what. Thankfully, there is no shortage of collaborative tools, like Slack, Asana, Notion, or Zoom, just to name a few. However, it’s important that your hybrid team understands how they are being used. A manager might decide that Zoom meetings with cameras on are important for creative brainstorming sessions. Or that a specific Slack channel is better for those sorts of tasks. Take time to explore what tools work best for your team.
Communication is key. We’ve shared the importance of communication in both remote and hybrid settings, but when it comes to fostering creativity and collaboration, communication is key. Team members need explicit instructions on how, when, and where to communicate their ideas, and tracking software may need to be instituted to help wrangle all the ideas. And don’t forget the need for informal communication spaces. While the water cooler was not necessarily a driver of creativity (as Price notes in Atlassian), it did offer the opportunity for team members to socialize, which can help support connection and make collaboration a whole lot easier.
Create opportunities for in-person connection. Even though your team may be in “the office” a few days a week, they may not all be there at the same time. Additionally, many hybrid companies are not necessarily keeping a headquarters anymore, due to the rising real estate costs. That’s where on-demand coworking spaces can be utilized to help bring team members together, not just with their own closely-located colleagues, but with other like-minded professionals as well. The in-person creative and collaborative sessions whether it’s weekly or monthly, are invaluable, but so are the opportunities for your team members to network and connect with other people in their industry.
Give your team flexibility. When the emphasis is on productivity, many managers decrease the amount of flexibility their team has access to. But creativity and collaboration require time and space, so allowing your team a little bit of flexibility, like working different hours on certain days when their creativity is more accessible to them (early mornings or later nights) is just one example of how flexibility can foster these two important attributes. While there are different levels of flexibility, considering more than just productivity will help you decide what makes the most sense for your team.
Encourage employee feedback. You won’t know if your approaches to collaboration in the hybrid work setting are actually effective until you check in with your team. Create forms of employee feedback so that they can discuss their experiences with their manager, whether it’s through one on one meetings or anonymous surveys. Understanding the experiences and needs of your team members will help inform the choices you make.
Flexspace works with hybrid-first teams to help provide them with on-demand working spaces for creativity and collaboration that are easily booked right through Google Calendar and managed in one easy-to-use interface. With budget and usage tracking, you’re able to see who’s using the spaces and when, so that you can adjust levels and provide feedback in real-time.