7 Ways to Stay Creative While Working From Home

By Becky De Laurenzy

Working from home is a blessing and a curse in many ways. No commute, an extra 30 minutes lie-in and the general added flexibility is undeniably quite enjoyable.

But if you’re used to working alongside other creative minds, working alone day-after-day can hinder your productivity and motivation levels from time to time. Without office hubbub and others to bounce your ideas off, coming up with imaginative ideas and solutions can be a struggle.

Whilst working remotely may be nothing new for a lot of us, for others, recent world events may mean that this is the first time you’re having to work from home.

Our team at The WHY Agency have put together our tried and tested top tips to help keep that creative spark alive – no matter where you’re working.

#1 Change of scene

Dedicating a space to work away from the mayhem and madness of your regular home life can definitely help to get your brain into gear. Natural light is always a good mood boost, so maybe set up near a big window.

That said, when you’ve been working in the same spot for a while and find yourself facing a big writer’s block: change the scene. Take your work to another room or perhaps outside. The new sensations of the switch-up may be just what you need to get your creative juices flowing – something you see, hear or feel could open up a whole new set of ideas.

#2 Do something different

Giving your brain some down time means you can have a mini-rest and return to the problem slightly more refreshed. Schedule regular breaks on your phone timer to make sure you get away from your computer or phone screen.

If a break is still not helping your best ideas come to the surface, try doing a totally different activity or task to your day job. It could be anything, as long as it’s different. 10 minutes of doing the ironing, vacuum cleaning, juggling: whatever floats your boat. Research has proven that doing mundane activities such as washing the dishes can create an environment where insight and creative thought patterns occur – potentially leading to that light bulb moment you’re after.

#3 Background Music

If you’re trying to reduce distracting noises and work in silence to try to come up with ideas, you may be missing a trick. It’s rare for us not to have music on in the studio. It provokes conversations, memories and in some cases deep & meaningful discussion! But undeniably, it creates a vibe…

Taking the time to listen to music is not only a good way to relieve writer’s-block-induced stress – it has actually been found to help aid creative problem-solving.

Some studies suggest that just by playing an album in the background whilst you work can enhance your cognitive flexibility and open your mind to more divergent thinking. Switching between different perspectives rather than seeing the problem from one singular, rigid point of view.

So, pop your headphones on and try listening to some new or uplifting music to tap into your best, most imaginative ideas.

#4 Step away from the screen

This is a tip we implement in our workspace all the time and it’s well worth giving a go. Sometimes when you’re looking at a problem on a laptop screen, the answer isn’t obvious. But then you take the time to draw out your ideas – brainstorm on a flip chart or post it notes on the wall and suddenly you can see relationships and patterns between ideas that were previously non-apparent.

Visualising what you’re trying to do can unlock different parts of your thinking. It can even start conversations with other people in the household. Get their input, explain it to them and use their objectivity to help you bounce ideas around. They may be able to see it from a whole new angle and give you the spark that sets off a whole new chain of ideas.

#5 Use virtual tools

Self-isolating is by nature not all that great for collaborative work. Not being surrounded by a hubbub of creative minds like you’re used to (or any minds at all) can be a bit uninspiring.

Whether you usually work from home or a regular office, it’s important to keep lines of communication flowing with your colleagues beyond just the essentials of emails & notes and connect face-to-face.

We’ve all become very well-acquainted with online streaming tools like Zoom and Skype by now. So, if you need some company, why not have a call running in the background to give yourself the feeling of having colleagues working alongside you?  It can give you the feeling of having fellow creatives working with you as if you’re in an office with them, plus, they’re right there if you do need to bounce ideas off each other and work collaboratively.

And if you really want to push the boundaries of what’s possible to do, try a free trial of Spatial which provides a 3D collaborative space where users both with and without VR headsets can meet and work together. Crazy!

#6 Search for inspiration

Sometimes it’s useful to do a bit of digging on what’s out there already – what are others doing in the same space? And if you’re having a mental block, try searching social media, online magazines or type keywords into Google and Pinterest using keywords to stimulate your thinking and generate related ideas. This often acts as CPR for your creative mind and sets you off on a new train of thought.

#7 Switch Off

Tuning out from work at the end of the day may be tricky when your entire day has been at home and you’ve had a particularly creatively stunted or unproductive day.

Allowing yourself to consciously check-out mentally from work is important to keep that balance between work life and home life. These lines can get blurred when you suddenly have to work from home if you’re not used to it – so be sure to check out, sign off and rest up.

The WHY Agency are creative communications specialists, creating engaging live & online events. We help companies & individuals tell their stories by creating inspiring, engaging content: video, animation, presentations, design & technical event production.