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Can Fully Remote Work Stifle Innovation?

By July 14, 2021 No Comments

 87% of fully remote businesses have reported that remote work has temporarily stifled innovation. Why might that be the case?

Can Fully Remote Work Stifle Innovation?

Fourteen months ago, many of us were forced to take our businesses fully remote to adhere to the newly announced social distancing guidelines. Whether we were prepared for this or not, we all managed to adapt along the way, and we’re still here today! Now that the dust from the pandemic is beginning to settle a bit, we can finally start to decide what our “new normal” will really look like. Is remote working actually here to stay, or should we be preparing to return to our physical office spaces?

In a recent survey, CEOs were asked whether their teams were currently producing high-quality, innovative ideas to drive their businesses forward. For fully remote businesses, only 77% agreed that their team was indeed doing so. On the other hand, the number jumps up to 87% for partially remote organizations.

Why is this 10 percent difference present?

Collaboration Difficulties

Despite good intentions and great efforts, there are a few challenges that are immensely difficult to overcome in a remote setting. If you’ve spent a lot of time orchestrating Zoom meetings over the past year, you may have realized that they often follow a similar path. The meeting launches, attendees join one at a time, and you are lucky to accomplish ten minutes of pure focus after late stragglers with tech issues filter in.

On the other hand, longer sessions in person are usually much more focused and fruitful. Rather than being distracted by email pings or tech issues, your team can put their undivided attention toward collaboration and critical thinking.

Remaining a True Team

While you are collaborating with the same individuals, whether you are working virtually or in person, it’s hard to truly feel like a team over long spans of remote working. In hindsight, taking those away and replacing them with outer stress from various sources in the world seems like a surefire way to stifle innovation. But, it turns out, those water cooler conversations and small talk sessions before meetings are a lot more meaningful than we gave them credit for.

Creating a Remote Work Environment that Stimulates Innovation

The potential advantages and disadvantages of remote working are well documented. Even still, remote work (full-time or part-time) remains the most feasible option for many businesses at this point in 2021. How can they continue to thrive when the deck seems to be stacked against them? As you continue your journey with remote working, be sure to have these ideas in mind:

  • Encourage regular communication across multiple mediums.
  • Allow your team to take advantage of the flexibility to avoid burnout.
  • Look for and recognize employee success just as you would in a physical setting.
  • Encourage serendipitous meetings to build stronger company culture.
  • Design and implement a process for developing ideas and taking them to the execution phase or pending phase.

Reinvigorate Your Business’ Innovation TriBridge Partners, LLC

TriBridge Partners is a team of specialists in Employee Benefits, Individual Insurance and Financial Planning, and Business Enterprise Planning. Everything we do, we do because we believe in making a meaningful difference in the lives of those we serve.  To discover how our experts can assist your organization or business, please call our office today at 240-422-8799.