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May 17, 2017 By Jen Mathews

How a change of scenery can spark your creativity

May 17, 2017

By Jen Mathews

Read More from Jen Mathews

May 17, 2017

How a change of scenery can spark your creativity

By Jen Mathews
Senior Public Relations Manager

Office work can sap your creativity when you’re stuck facing the same four walls. Thankfully the rise of cloud-based work tools means it’s never been easier escape the office and work remotely. But this doesn’t have to mean being hunched over a laptop at your local cafe or scheduling meetings from your bedroom.

More and more businesses have been exploring the benefits of sending their employees on coworking retreats. For professionals keen to both boost productivity and scratch their travel itch, venturing to an entrepreneurial hub in an exotic setting can prove just the ticket.

Experience new cultures

One of the most exciting things about traveling is the opportunity to experience new cultures. Whether it’s exploring Buddhist monasteries or hunting for lobsters with Caribbean fisherman, taking a day off to enjoy new experiences can be an excellent opportunity to boost your creativity and productivity.

“It’s always astounding to me to see how much being in a totally new culture jogs the brain and inspires exciting new ideas,” says Iskender Piyale-Sheard, community manager at Lighthouse Labs. He found exposing himself to new cultures was the perfect way to broaden his professional outlook: “You can’t help but compare how things are done in this new foreign culture to the way things work in the country you’re from. It allows you learn new concepts and combine ideas that you wouldn’t necessarily think are connected.”

Build partnerships with fellow travelers

Co-working retreats are about more than just getting the job done from a foreign country. They are also a great opportunity to network with local businesses or other professionals on the trip. Piyale-Sheard believes that traveling provides a great opportunity to collaborate with people you wouldn’t normally work with.

“When people go on these trips they’re constantly coming up with awesome ideas over dinner,” he explains. “Then they go running home all giddy to start hacking away at their projects together. It’s an incredibly fun thing to witness.”

Work to your own clock

Some people are just not cut out for nine to five work days. Whether they’re early birds and night owls, working from a different time zone allows people to work with their body clock rather than against it.

“Different people are most efficient at different times and by allowing them to choose their working hours you take advantage of that efficiency,” says Alessia Sannazzaro project director at Code & Wander, a nomadic design studio. “Remote working goes hand in hand with flexible hours. People are motivated by the fact they’re able to work when and where they want.”

Avoid office distractions

The office environment is rife with distractions, but the same can be said for exotic islands or mountain getaways. Surrounded by a new and exciting landscape, it’s clear to see why a working retreat could be more distracting than staying back home. But the thrill of an unfamiliar destination can also be a motivating factor in getting work done. The quicker you get work done, the sooner you will be able to explore your new surroundings. The key is being disciplined and spending your time working in the wisest way possible.

“While working remotely, you’re hyper-aware of the fact that any time you’re wasting during the workday is taking away time you could spend exploring after work,” says Heidi Priebe, staff writer at Thought Catalog. She found traveling for a working retreat in Chiang Mai, Thailand changed her attitude to office chatter. “In an office I’ll chat with coworkers for hours at a time, because it doesn’t matter to me if I’m still there at 7 or 8pm.”

Use the road to rewire your brain

Perhaps one of the most exciting reasons to go on a coworking retreat is to rewire your brain to be more productive. A Columbian business school study has looked at the connection between creativity and international travel and found that exposure to different environments actually changes the neural pathways in your brain. This means that exploring new places can boost your ability to leap between diverse ideas and make richer mental connections between ideas.

Better still – the key to greater productivity through travel appears to be immersing yourself in the culture, so be sure to hit the road and expand your professional outlook.

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