The world had to change a lot of things during the pandemic. Due to the strict regulations put in place by the government workers had to meet their colleagues online to coordinate operations. It was a great idea to engage each other online, but it came with a cost to the levels of creativity. A recent study by Brucks and Levav (2022) showed that workers who worked online generated less creative ideas as compared to face-to-face interactions. It is why, as soon as the social distance restrictions were withdrawn, workers had to resume face-to-face meetings.
Why is it that virtual meetings had less creative ideas?
With continued technological advancement, most people want to continue working from home. It is easy for most bosses to monitor their employees and know their work rates. Teaming up is done with applications created for videoconferencing which creates a big hindrance to creativity. When a set of employees working physically and those working via videoconferencing applications are given the same task, the results can prove there is a hindrance to creativity. The employees who worked face-to-face will be more effective by 15% in idea generation. In-person working is more effective since consultation and interaction are easier. When online teams work, they not only have a small field of sight but also, a narrow thinking capacity. Your brain will be stimulated, to come up with creative ideas when subjected to an in-person meeting. It is impossible to compare the output of a worker gazing at a screen to a worker having in-person meetings.
Do environmental factors influence the creation of ideas?
It is not that virtual meetings have no positives to take home. Virtual meetings have a limited environment. The environment of a person has an influence on the intellectual ability of the person. The in-person meeting provides an interactive environment that gives a worker the ability to fully express their ideas. Meeting physically will encourage collaboration, encouragement, and criticism will impact the worker more. It is not possible to fully notice if a person is relaxed, comfortable, and stimulated in the right way when meeting virtually. The physical meeting will allow us to comfort low workers. The working space in an office is moderated while the working space at home is not moderated.
Does the level of comfortability influence the creation of ideas in virtual meetings?
The output per worker is reduced during virtual meetings. Both the production of ideas and creativity is reduced. It can be attributed to several reasons. In studies conducted recently workers, who coordinated their activities virtually, struggled to contribute ideas due to a weak communication structure. The workers had a low concentration span and failed to maintain eye contact. It contributed negatively to the work they produced. To work virtually is comfortable and suitable for most people but comes with challenges that impact a worker’s performance. Virtual meetings will lead to the in-depth selection of ideas rather than the selection of creative ideas.
What are the disadvantages of virtual meetings?
When meeting online, it is noticeable that meetings are usually shorter. Ideas that require in-depth discussion are not given enough time. When attending a virtual meeting, you are likely to get fatigued fast due to concentration on a screen for long periods. Some people will hide under the nosh own that they have a poor internet connection. It will be difficult to supervise workers who will face this issue. Due to the different geographical locations of the workers, some people may be in different time zones. Conducting meetings during business hours could be difficult. Some videoconferencing applications will require that you pay for them which can be costly in the long run.
Brucks, M.S., Levav, J. Virtual communication curbs creative idea generation. Nature 605, 108–112 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-04643-y