Can Remote Work Foster Innovation

Remote Work Innovation

Since the occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in hybrid and remote work which has significantly changed and reshaped organisational structure, workspace experience, innovation and creativity.

While this trend is just taking form in Africa, a report from Nexford University says that 73% of Africans wish to work remotely, while 42% already work from home at least once a week. This indicates that the number of telecommuting employees is already rising quickly across the continent.

Despite the rapid growth, some employers of labour believe that embracing this new trend will further blur the boundaries between work and home and reduce creativity and innovation. This and many challenges to effectively implement this new workspace structure raised the question of whether remote work can indeed reduce employees’ productivity, innovativeness, and creativity.


Remote work is also known as telecommuting or teleworking. It is a process where employees perform their tasks from any location other than the four walls of their office. This has been made possible through the introduction of collaboration and key performance (KPI) technologies. However, due to the differences in employees’ and employers’ strengths and weaknesses, some challenges persist. Such as:

Lack of human interaction

Some employees are social butterflies and are at their best when interacting one-on-one with colleagues. Being unable to see and communicate with others can cause feelings of loneliness resulting in low productivity, creativity, and innovativeness.

Issues with cooperation and communication

A productive work atmosphere is built on effective communication. However, when working remotely, employees depend on digital tools and collaborative platforms to communicate, which may result in misconceptions and poor communication making it difficult to effectively execute projects.

Reliance on electronic devices

Technology plays a major role in remote work in areas such as communication, teamwork, and task management. This can, however, hinder effective workflow and affect productivity when there are technical problems.

Setting work-life boundaries

While working remotely can be flexible, it can also make it more difficult to distinguish and set work and personal life boundaries. The lack of a distinct boundary can result in extended workdays and challenges in disengaging from work-related activities. For some remote workers, striking and sustaining a healthy work-life balance becomes challenging.


Despite the hurdles, remote work offers significant advantages for people and organizations. Africantradehub highlights ways remote work is increasing innovativeness in the workspace.

Access to a worldwide talent pool

Apart from the lack of geographical restrictions, remote work allows for a wide range of talent from different cultures, backgrounds, beliefs, and experiences. The diversity encourages a ground for innovative and creative ideas unlimited by preconceived notions. This allows innovative problem-solving approaches that produce groundbreaking solutions.

Flexibility and work-life integration

Remote work is associated with unmatched flexibility that gives autonomy over work and personal time. This allows you to work when you are at your productivity best be it in the morning, afternoon, or night. All it takes is planning your work around your utmost productive time. It is one of the ways working remotely spurs creativity and innovation.

Opportunity to upskill

With the digitalisation of the workspace, it is of the essence to be abreast of new trends, technologies and skills. This is because innovation and remaining relevant in a world that is continuously changing depend on having the right skills. In recent years, the need to know how to use collaborative tools such as Slack, Zoom, Asana, and Google Workspace has been on the increase. Working remotely therefore allows you to learn new technologies and upskill. It also helps develop curiosity and stimulates fresh perspectives, leading to the discovery of unchartered possibilities for innovative solutions.


Remote work can be likened to a coin that has two sides to it: opportunities and challenges. Understanding and balancing the two sides is therefore very important for the success of a remote work plan. This is because like it or not, remote work is the future and it is paving and reshaping the traditional office structure.

Although remote work is at its infant stage in Africa, in the United States of America, 40% of job seekers were interested in a fully remote position, and 33% preferred hybrid roles. Only 18% wanted a fully in-office position.

According to RSM, in the fourth quarter of 2023,  60% of 1,500 executives said that flexible work models have positively affected organizations’ culture. This is significantly greater than 39% in the same period a year earlier.

With the positive findings, we believe that by adopting remote work, organizations and employees can unleash an increased capacity for creativity and innovation.

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