Hybrid work innovation: Is your team missing out?

When are you at your most creative? Early morning? Middle of the night? Out for a walk with the dog?

This isn’t just about personal preference – it’s about unlocking innovation. Stanford University researchers discovered that remote workers experienced a creative surge when they could set their own work schedules. By aligning work with those individual bursts of inspiration, hybrid models can become idea factories.

Flexibility becomes even more important as hybrid work continues to shake up the workplace. Gallup reports that 50% of remote-capable employees now favor this model. To maximize the potential of our hybrid teams, we need to be intentional about igniting their creativity.

Think flexible, think inspired

Rigid nine-to-five schedules and creativity are rarely compatible. Gartner research shows that radical flexibility – which means giving employees flexibility not just when and where they work, but also with whom, on what and how much — helps employees feel autonomous. And it fuels performance too. Here are some ideas on how to bump up the flexibility in your workplace:

Know your team’s rhythms: Simple surveys or informal conversations can reveal when individuals are most productive and creatively charged.

Focus on outcomes: If deliverables are met and quality is high, does the exact hour matter? Shift the focus from time spent at a desk to results achieved.

Experiment with asynchronous work: Not every meeting needs to be live. Pre-recorded updates, shared documents, and solutions like intranets and employee apps allow for collaboration across time zones and peak productivity moments.

Connections are the catalyst for ‘aha!’ moments

Working alone can boost focus, but it’s the bonds between colleagues that spark real innovation. Research by Gallup has highlighted the correlation between strong workplace relationships and increased engagement levels. By weaving in virtual icebreakers, online hangouts, and casual chats in a cutting-edge workplace platform, organizations can foster a community vibe that’s vital for creative teamwork.

Our Chief Innovation Officer, Thomas Philippart de Foy, shares his tips on how collaboration breeds innovation: “I encourage cross-functional collaboration through virtual brainstorming sessions and regular knowledge-sharing forums. And I constantly look for ideas from the entire team to keep everyone excited and engaged in the product innovation process.”

Equipping teams with the right tools

In the realm of hybrid work, technology is the glue that binds dispersed teams together. According to the Harvard Business Review, having user-friendly collaboration tools is key. These tools should support flexible workflows, like shared documents, virtual whiteboards, and project management solutions. They play a crucial role in fostering seamless teamwork and sparking those unexpected ‘aha!’ moments.

Space matters – both online and IRL

The design of the physical workspace can have a huge impact on how creative teams can be. Offices should feel like a place where people can brainstorm comfortably, with cozy seating, whiteboards, and good lighting that says, “Let’s get those creative juices flowing!” For those working from home, it’s important to have a dedicated workspace to think creatively without distractions.

Valuing courage over perfection

Creating a culture that values trying new things and sharing early ideas is crucial for innovation. McKinsey research tells us that employees in psychologically safe environments are more likely to float those initial, half-formed concepts that have the potential to become game-changers. Tools like Appspace, designed for quick, supportive peer feedback, help build this risk-friendly culture.

Leadership’s role in shaping an innovation culture

In hybrid work, leadership is about setting the tone for creativity and making sure everyone feels included. Great hybrid workplace leaders set the example – they’re adaptable, understanding, and dedicated to a workplace where every voice is heard. When leaders are inclusive and supportive, they empower their teams to share bold ideas and take the kind of smart risks that lead to breakthroughs.

Do you have an employee app or intranet – and a strategy for making leadership accessible?

Non-stop innovation through continuous learning

The world of work changes at lightning speed, and if you’re not learning, you’re falling behind. Companies that invest in helping their people grow – with new skills, fresh knowledge, and ongoing development – are the ones that will truly innovate. It’s about building a team that’s ready for anything, that knows the latest trends, and can pivot when needed. Think of continuous learning like the fuel that keeps the innovation engine running.

The hybrid work sweet spot

Navigating the hybrid work setup means we need smart strategies to really tap into its creative power. By being flexible, fostering connections, giving teams the tools they need, creating innovative spaces, and valuing the bravery to try new things, companies can turn the hurdles of hybrid work into a wellspring of fresh ideas. This leads to new solutions and exciting progress.

Want to dive deeper into strategies for cultivating creativity in hybrid models?
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