By Ambika Gautam Pai, Director of Brand Strategy, gyro New York
"Sent from the top of a palm tree."
"Sent from my fire-side bear rug."
"Sent from anywhere but my desk."
Flexible working arrangements decrease attrition and operating costs, and increase satisfaction and productivity. But how does it affect creativity?
In many ways, technology is unleashing creativity by allowing people to work whenever, wherever, and however suits them best. Stripping away distractions - irresistible office dogs, annoying desk mates, administrative busywork - to keep people in their creative flow zones.
When you ask entrepreneurs, small business owners, and creative-industry-folk alike, a few innovative tools are at the tip of everyone's tongues:
Slack: The self-proclaimed tool for "team communication for the 21st century." On average, teams that adopt Slack are 32% more productive and cite transparency and culture building as top benefits. It allows for multiple group channels (or more simply, chats) based on projects, teams, and interests, and is equipped with private chats, one-on-one direct messages, and drag-and-drop file transfers that allow comments and stars for easily referral. Slack syncs automatically across all devices for a low-friction, always-on platform. Most importantly, all communication can take the form of emoticons and GIFs. Who needs words when you've got pizza slices dancing to Beyonce's "Single Ladies"?
Wunderlist: A tool that "keeps your life in sync" by allowing you to access rich and interactive to-do lists seamlessly across all gadgets. Wunderlist lets you assign people tasks, map to-dos against a calendar for reminders and deadline alerts, and create bespoke lists for different aspects of life - from work-tasks to life-tasks. It also utilizes the ubiquitous #hashtag to sort and resort tasks (since work and life now live on a very singular spectrum - pick up #supplies for your small business and your daughter's first day of school). Wunderlist doesn't just help you with to-dos, it allows you to bookmark articles, videos, recipes, and more from the Web for downtime perusal.
x.ai: For those who spend half their day in Microsoft Outlook or Google Calendar trying to find time to touch base, you've found your new (robotic) best friend. While it's still in beta, x.ai is a surprisingly personable AI that will take care of emailing and finding time for you to connect with friends or colleagues. All you have to do is cc Amy Ingram (firstname.lastname@example.org) on any email, and she'll correspond back and forth, find a time that works for all parties, and send out a calendar invite.
The majority (up to 90%) of working Americans would like to work remotely at least part of the time, per PSFK. And in as few as six years, 60% of today's office-based employees are expected to work remotely. It's time we equip ourselves with the tools and resources that allow us to get back to what really matters - creativity.
"Sent while stuck on Manhattan-bound L-train."