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11 May 2022 Posted by 


Because we’re all zoomed out……
BOUNCING ideas off each in an office environment is more creative than working from home on Zoom according to a new study.
While many employees argue that working from home is more productive, when comes to brainstorming, the office environment is better.
The study by Columbia University found that working from home via Zoom was bad for brainstorming and leads to fewer creative ideas than in-person meetings.
Researchers put 1500 people into pairs over either a video call or in-person. Face to face meetings.
They found face-to-face pairs produced more creative ideas than the virtual pairs. However, video call pairs were no less effective at selecting the best idea.
It is claimed the findings could help inform and refine the design of remote work policies. 
During the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of employees were required to work from home and collaborate virtually using videoconferencing technologies such as Zoom.
The study suggests this shift away from in-person interactions could also have a negative effect on people's employees creative contributions.
However, when selecting which idea to pursue, video call pairs were no less effective.
The authors of the study suggest that video calls focus communication on a screen, narrowing people’s focus and hindering the broad, expansive process of idea generation.
The face-to-face pairs produced more ideas and more creative ideas, compared to the virtual pairs
At the beginning of the idea generation task, ideas generated by in-person and virtual pairs were similarly connected to past ideas generated by each pair.
Forward flow of ideas
However, by the 11th idea, the ideas generated by in-person pairs began to exhibit significantly more forward flow compared to those of virtual pairs
To investigate how using video calls may affect the generation of collaborative ideas, the researchers recruited 490 people across five national sites of a telecom infrastructure company. 
The participants were randomly paired, either face-to-face or via video call and asked to create product ideas for an hour, before choosing one to submit as a future product innovation for the company. 
The engineers who worked on the task virtually generated an average of 7.43 in the hour, while those in in-person pairs generated an average of 8.58 ideas. This pattern was replicated at all five sites.
“There are many important advantages to working from home (WFH) and virtual interaction more generally, such as access to a larger talent pool, less commute time and increased employee flexibility,” Professor Melanie Brucks, co-author of the paper, told media.
“There are also many potential disadvantages to WFH, perhaps most importantly, less community. 
“This paper only documents a cognitive disadvantage of videoconferencing when it comes to idea generation and our findings are just one additional factor for employers to consider when determining the extent to which their office will be remote.
“That being said, the future of work is hybrid and we should be strategic about which tasks we do when working in-person versus remotely. 
“'Our findings suggest that you should consider specifically prioritising idea generation during in-person time.”
NOTE: In the experiment, half of the pairs worked together in person and the other half worked together in separate, identical rooms using videoconferencing. The pairs in the virtual condition interacted with a real-time video of their partner’s face displayed on a 15-inch retina-display screen with no self-view.
SOURCE: MailOnline


Michael Walls
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Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) covers the business and community issues of the Greater Western Sydney region of Australia. WSBA is the popular media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities and networks.