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#WFH: Are You Being Encouraged to Think Creatively?

People feel powerful when they have the power to create ideas and enact their priorities. They feel powerless when they need to check in with others all the time. This is not collaboration. This kind of incessant communication is based on control, not transparency and not cooperation. It squelches intrinsic motivation. It takes the excitement and enthusiasm out of the contribution. Taking away a person’s autonomy by insisting on falsely motivated communication discourages creative thinking and innovation. This is probably not where we want people to be mentally. Creativity is not a problem, not a waste of time and certainly not a threat. Even though most new ideas are not acted upon, it takes a lot of them to find the few that will really be awe-some.

It is very important that the ideas of virtual workers are honored. The virtual workplace needs to support the knowledge worker and their creative ideas. Interactions between coworkers and the freedom to live life as well as to work can inspire that creative spark to get things done. Freedom is one of the reasons people want to work virtually. Give them room to move, the freedom to challenge the status quo and the support they need. The more they contribute and have their ideas accepted the more buy-in organizations receive. People feel good when they contribute. They feel important, needed and involved. The virtual workplace is a dramatic change not only for the individual but also for the company culture. It is more difficult to make sure that people are acting out the ideas of others. It is also more likely that people just won’t do it. They will remove them-selves physically, mentally and emotionally if they do not feel like they have some “skin in the game.” This is true in a F2F environment also, but because of physical presence it can take years, sometimes even decades, before anyone notices.

Change starts with YOU! Each manager should take it upon themselves to support and encourage workers in the virtual workplace. Create touchpoints to reach out and inspire and generate an environment that encourages creativity. Each touchpoint is an opportunity. The virtual workplace will not sup-port old and ineffective ways of doing things. Even-tually and sometimes painfully these practices will be dissolved. False rhetoric is not tolerated. Legislated control will result in turnover and unhappy, unin-spired and unproductive workers. Each touchpoint is the way we can support a virtual worker.

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