COVID has changed the way we work, with more people working from home across the country.
According to Anushka Bandara, while work is being done, innovation and creativity are falling to the wayside.
Anushka Bandara is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Elegant Media, one of Australia’s leading App and software development companies.
“COVID is creating a nation of ZOMBIE workers,” Bandara said today.
“Many people are just working. While their work is important, it is also lacking the fundamental excitement, creativity and spark required to generate new thinking and forge new innovations.
“We may not realise it – but we are potentially looking at a period of time where very little happens in terms of new breakthroughs or discoveries.
“Let’s face it, how can you be expected to feel motivated or creative sitting in your pyjamas without the mental stimulation of fellow colleagues around you or physical access to workplace facilities that provide the ability to create, experiment, engage and throw around idea bombs? The answer is you can’t.
“The result is that people are no longer initiating any new projects to solve long-term business issues or opportunities. The uncertainty surrounding future operations is damaging the growth of organisations.”
Bandara has some tips for businesses on how to help employees stay motivated and excited about working from home, and how to maintain high levels of energy and innovation.
Stay connected and engaged
Bandara believes engagement is key. “Put formal processes and systems in place to check-in and keep communication open and moving across the team and between people,” he said.
“Use a range of different channels. This keeps people engaged and also alert. Active engagement helps with productivity and also supporting people to feel included, valued and involved.”
Structure fun into communication
“Team meets via ZOOM have started to lose their shine. Initially, they were a lot of fun for people but now there is a feeling of ZOOM DOOM. They are boring and dull,” Bandara said.
“Connect fun segments to work in a way that requires everyone’s involvement and adds value to the business. Creativity happens when people have the clear air and positivity to think outside the box.”
Get everyone moving
“We all know that moving is good for us. It gets the blood circulating faster around the body,” Bandara said.
“Put in place a requirement that involves having to stop work and engage in physical activity. Everyone can nominate what type of activity they want to engage in so the activities are suitable for their needs.
“We all think more clearly after exercise. It is one of the best things we can do for our health and wellbeing.”
Set clear expectations
“Managing a remote workforce can be challenging. It requires more effort and more collaborative tools,” Bandara added.
“It also requires some type of visibility over the activities of those working. The only way to achieve this is through output and engagement. Identify what type of measurements need to be understood and how they contribute to the business in a COVID world.”
Implement shared projects
“Nothing brings teams together like a shared project. If the project requires the input of everyone through specific roles and responsibilities, then it is even more beneficial,” Bandara added.
“Identify problems or opportunities and then set the team the task of identifying solutions and ways in which the solutions can be implemented. Give the team a certain amount of time each week to work on the project.
“Have the team work together and then report on the progress and outcomes at weekly meetings. This is a great way to encourage engagement and also involve the team in progressing innovation and new ideas across the business during COVID.”