Remote Work Fosters Innovation: Why, Ideas, and More

We’re far enough away from 2020 to safely assume that the unexpected work-from-home experiment has led to virtual and hybrid work arrangements that are here to stay, which is fantastic.

Remote work has been shown to increase productivity. A recent study tells us two-thirds of managers believe their employees are more productive working remotely.

However, some organizations worry that innovation will suffer without the physical office. The prevailing question is, can online collaboration work as well as 9-5 office interaction?

Yes, it can.

Experts have weighed in: the virtual world encourages innovation

The popular belief that innovation only happens through face-to-face interaction has been debunked.

In-person interaction might be more comfortable, and it can be easier to read the room. However, studies show you can invent and innovate just as well remotely, and maybe even better if your organization puts the right pieces in place.

A Scientific American article walks through seven steps to more productive virtual brainstorming. They explain how behavioral economics and psychology research has established the superiority of digital brainstorming over in-person brainstorming.

This McKinsey article explains the incredible results from the pandemic’s fast-tracking of online collaboration, Indeed, over the past two years, countries around the world have set records for new business formation, new patents issued, venture capital invested, and more.

The article further says, By connecting people into broader virtual networks, the pandemic has increased the collective speed and creativity of innovation efforts.

It makes sense that online brainstorming fosters innovation. The digital world, it’s in the name. You can discuss problems and solutions with anyone, getting perspectives from Japan to Germany and everywhere in between. More people are not only getting a seat at the online table, but they’re also more comfortable speaking up.

It’s better that we can’t read the room

There’s always that one person that dominates in-person meetings, maybe because they’re the boss, or perhaps they’re just outspoken. Either way, inevitably, opinions get squashed.

Online collaboration levels the playing field for introverts and extroverts, breaking down communication barriers between executives vs. individual contributors and different generations of colleagues.

Although not explicitly stated, the innovation boom during the last two years was partly due to quiet yet brilliant people collaborating in a more comfortable arena.

Remote work leverages new technology

Of course, online innovation can’t happen without technology, and choosing the right technology makes all the difference. There are all sorts of communication avenues, from messaging apps to video calls to 3D simulations. It’s a good idea to evaluate these options carefully.

The Scientific American article referenced above explains the right way to brainstorm, and that requires a different kind of technology. Organizing thoughts and ideas from around the block, let alone around the world, takes ingenuity.

How it’s done today, through emails, text messages, messenger applications, social media, web research, files, etc., makes it challenging to keep all the collaboration information together. So great ideas can get lost.

How we work changed dramatically over the last two years, and we need to catch up and change how we organize online.

This is why we wrote Tabjay: a new, more innovative way to organize and share. It’s an online workspace for whatever you’re collaborating on, where ideas are mobilized, no matter where they’re captured. It’s a modern design that works the way we do.