Nine tips for staying connected and creative from Vox Creative and Asana

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Since the start of the new year, remote work has dramatically changed the way marketing and creative teams work, connect, and stay creative.

Going remote has forced everyone from event marketers and designers, to my own marketing teams at Asana, to pivot plans and create entirely new processes for collaborating and executing creative ideas from afar. Thankfully using tools like Asana have made this pivot much less painful.

Last year at Adobe Max, we showed the world how customers like Vox Media nail and scale their creative processes more easily with Asana—even amid changing deadlines and priorities. And in a few short weeks, we’ll take the virtual stage yet again to explore how the Vox Creative team has adapted to the greatest change of all: transitioning to remote work.

Asana is, unsurprisingly, one major piece of this puzzle, but it’s far from the team’s only creative solution! To give you a peek behind the curtain, we sat down with the Vox Creative Team to learn their top tips for staying connected and creative from anywhere. Here’s what they had to say.

Keep your teammates close, and the tools you love closer

As Executive Creative Director at Vox Creative, I’m constantly trying to balance giving my teammates enough space to recharge and be productive while also facilitating clear communication and alignment. With in-person collaboration no longer possible, digital spaces like Asana, Slack, Zoom, etc have become so much more important for ‘meeting’ each other to sort things out. I cannot recommend enough having multiple spaces and multiple ways to communicate about projects, new ideas, and random fun. It helps keep processes organized and also frees us up to create and work effectively while feeling slightly less insane.

Heather Pieske, Executive Creative Director

At a time when so much of our communication is virtual, tools like Asana help us keep all of our work and key information in one place. This is great because it means we can dedicate at least some of our time together each week to reconnecting with the people we used to see every day IRL. It’s important to prioritize that human check in to continue feeling connected to your awesome teammates.

Michael Wei, Content Manager

Don’t underestimate the power of human connection

Working remotely can feel very isolating. There are some days where you are so heads down in a project you don’t even know what you’re looking at anymore! One thing that’s made a difference for our team (from our art school days) is a holding weekly design critique. In this meeting, we all bring something we are currently working on to receive real-time feedback from each other. A fresh set of design eyes on a project can be so helpful, and often is the key to seeing something through to the finish line. If there isn’t something relevant to share, we encourage bringing some inspiration or reflecting on a past project.

Brittany Falussy, Art Director

Although I miss the creative energy exchange of in-person meetings and coffee chats, working remotely has given me more control over my own creative work space and distractions. My number one tip for creatives is to carve out time for deep, focused creative work, and let your teammates know you will be slow to respond until a certain time. You don’t have to be “on” and available all the time. Be an introvert when you need to and then do your due diligence and over-communicate when you’re not in deep work mode.

Patrick Ng, Video Editor

I would be lying if I said maintaining an effective creative environment while working remote is easy. It’s tough! I personally work best when I’m able to talk through an idea soon after the moment of inspiration hits. The immediate enthusiasm and excitement that comes when a good idea is formed is my favorite part of the job. If I were back in the office I would simply run over to a colleague’s desk and pitch them on the spot to gauge the idea. Since that’s no longer possible, I’ve resorted to surprising them with unscheduled “slack calls” so the idea stays fresh and in the moment. This approach is definitely dependent on the type of relationship you have with your colleagues, but sometimes you need an unscheduled surprise video call to keep things fresh!

AJ Gutierrez, Creative Director

As we ‘ve all gone through various levels of adjustment, anxiety, creative blocks, and bouts of “what’s the point?” I’ve continued to find creative inspiration just by connecting with the people around me. For example, mentoring young professionals from my alma mater (NYU) about what they’re up to and struggling with has been a great reminder that my work is both meaningful and stimulating. I’ve also found that speaking to friends, peers, and other-industry professionals about their challenges tends to put my own into perspective — some are better, some are worse, all are empathetic. I take solace in the fact that our virtual communication tools are as good as they’ve ever been in the history of the world and that we’re getting better at being human in a digital landscape. And when the world comes back in a new way, I fully expect and hope that we will bring some of our new ways of engaging and finding stimulus with us.

Zach Kazin, Director of Creative Strategy

Seek inspiration outside of the box

Working at home has definitely forced me to develop new creative habits. For example, when we were in the office I could always count on having a productive, quick discussion with a teammate to solve a creative challenge. Since that kind of interaction now needs to be arranged in advance, I’ve instead found myself going on runs with my glasses off. I’m pretty myopic, so I only do it when it’s safe, but being in motion in a blurry world makes me respond a little differently, and feels like a conversation with myself instead of a co-worker.

Daniel Littlewood, Executive Producer for The Explainer Studio

Everyone thinks you can shut yourself in a room and come up with a creative idea in one hour and that’s how great projects are made, but creativity doesn’t exist inside a vacuum. It needs the experiences, brains, thoughts, and notes of others in order to make something great for mass consumption. I love doing big brainstorms with people from different professional backgrounds to discover the nooks and crannies of a project that I wouldn’t have necessarily found myself. When you need inspiration, I recommend checking out the designs, photography, and text of brochures, zines, menus, product labels, and anything else that may be around you. Pay attention to how that item was distributed and to who — there is always something in the details to be inspired by.

Laura Delarato, Creative Director

The one rule I’ve tried to keep in order to stay fresh and creative during these times is to stop what I’m doing and get up when I feel fatigue or frustration setting in. It can be a 3 minute solo dance party or 5 minute walk around the block, but I have to step away from my desk. They're not the same as getting coffee with my coworkers but they do the trick of getting me out of my head and reminding myself that I am allowed to take a break. Walking away from problems allows you to return with a clear head. It's simple, but it's so important.

Gaby Grossman, Senior Producer

Get more ideas from Adobe MAX

Speaking of inspiration, this year’s virtual conference should be nothing short of a masterclass in how to stay connected and creative while working remotely. I’m looking forward to sharing the virtual stage with Vox Creative’s Heather Pieske to talk all things creativity and collaboration. Register now to take part in the conversation or follow along with us on social media at @asana and @byVoxCreative.