Collaboration, creativity and connection

Essential ingredients for a productive and happy working life.

When it comes to connection and hybrid and flexible working in the aftermath of the pandemic, no one has it nailed*. We’re all experimenting. Some people are back to the office full time, others have a rota, and some organisations don’t have an office anymore. Some people have to show up a couple of times a week, others are completely remote. Some people love working from home and the flexibility it offers, others miss the noise and social part of office life.

Everyone is different and perhaps that’s why there is no single right way for organisations to operate. It’s finding the best fit for meeting the objectives of the organisation and the individuals that work there.

Whatever the physical working day looks like, I believe that there are essential ingredients that enable teams to work together, be happy and productive.

Collaboration, creativity and connection

According to The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2021 the top skills and skill groups which employers see as rising in prominence in the lead up to 2025 include creative thinking, critical thinking, and analysis, as well as problem-solving and skills in self-management, such as active learning, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility. Research by LinkedIn has found that the top skill that companies are looking for overall is creativity. We know that within a hybrid and flexible working world core skills are connection, creativity and collaboration.

Every successful working environment and good opportunity starts with a connection. Connection is two-way. Through offering your thoughts and perspectives you help and create opportunities for others.

Being able to think creatively to solve problems is becoming a more important skill than ever before. The lone genius having a lightbulb moment is a myth. Connection is important for creativity. When people talk and connect, ideas flow.

Ideas are hard to get off the ground, and change can be difficult to implement on your own and that’s where the skill of collaboration comes in. Together we achieve more.

But what do connection, creativity and collaboration mean? How do you create working environments where collaboration creativity and connection are the norm and part of our working culture?

Last month at the Lucidity Network Not9to5 networking event we were discussing collaboration, creativity and connection in this new world of work.  We asked delegates to share what they and their organisations were doing to drive these three ‘C’s’. I’ve summarised my favourites below.

Cake – when people are in the office have cake or something to encourage people to gather and chat. Be careful not to send group emails to people who may still be working remotely about the cake in the kitchen. It just makes them sad (and hungry).

Buddy system – encourage people to buddy up with another person so that there is a go-to person to check in with regularly. This is even more important for new starters, especially those who are starting remotely.

Postcards – encouraging staff sending postcards to each other with a kind word on. It can be like a random act of kindness to acknowledge someone or thank them. Don’t be too structured the nice surprise element is important.

Morning check-ins – each morning have a quick check-in, perhaps while people are making a cuppa. It only needs to take 10 mins but can make a big difference to someone’s day and how connected they feel.

Lunch and learns – a good way to connect the team, either with an external speaker or team members sharing something – it could be work related or completely unrelated.

Join a networking group – be accountable and stay connected, get some outside perspective to help your creative thinking. Encourage others to network, it can enable creativity by increasing cognitive diversity increase and highlighting bias and assumptions.

Quiet time and space to think and be creative – in a culture where busy is seen as good carving out time to think is really difficult and very important. Make it important that everyone has a time to think in their calendar.

Changing up the desks in the office so you mix – it’s easy to slip into habits of silo working, mixing up where you sit (which if you no longer have an office and are in a co-working space kind of happens on it’s own.) also helps make connections.

Book meetings 5 mins before for social catch up time – creates some space to get to know colleagues and relax before work talk takes over.

Away days or team days in person – the time and space to all be somewhere together to think, plan and laugh has never been more important. If you need a facilitator, then give me a shout!

Walk and talk meetings – so many benefits including creative thinking, changing the dynamic and good for wellbeing.

Informal get togethers and social groups outside work – encourage socials, or different activities, for example, book club, knitting, sports activities or a quiz.  When we know colleagues socially it can build trust and connection.

Houseplant community ‘Bernards’ – the ‘Bernards’ get passed to different team members to look after. Creates a shared purpose and accountability.

If you need more connection, creativity and collaboration in your team, then you have to be deliberate in creating them. Test out a few of the above. Let me know how you get on.

*If you have it nailed please get in touch – I’d love to chat!

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