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The benefits isolation can have on your work

Alone time

Researchers tested how the rhythm of our communication can influence our problem-solving. The participants were divided into three groups.

  • Groups with continuous interaction had a good average performance, but the team members tended to conform to mediocre solutions.
  • People working independently didn't have the opportunity to benefit from other's solutions.
  • The intermittent communication group was the best of both worlds. They could build on the diversity of the ideas that were created independently.

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The benefits isolation can have on your work

The benefits isolation can have on your work

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200513-the-benefits-isolation-can-have-on-your-work

bbc.com

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Key Ideas

Less communication might be beneficial

So many people across the world are now working remotely. They may be concerned about the loss of regular facetime with their team.

But the latest psychological literature suggests that constant collaboration can reduce 'collective intelligence.' Less communication might actually be more beneficial to a team's joint problem-solving ability.

Group communication

In a 2015 study, researchers found that more communication in a group results in the team members quickly converging on a consensus without really exploring alternatives.

In less well-connected groups, team members suffered a bit with information gathering but were less likely to reach a consensus too quickly. Each member built on their own theories, which resulted in a greater diversity of ideas.

Alone time

Researchers tested how the rhythm of our communication can influence our problem-solving. The participants were divided into three groups.

  • Groups with continuous interaction had a good average performance, but the team members tended to conform to mediocre solutions.
  • People working independently didn't have the opportunity to benefit from other's solutions.
  • The intermittent communication group was the best of both worlds. They could build on the diversity of the ideas that were created independently.

Short, intense communication

Research showed that teams working with short "bursts" of communication, followed by longer periods of silence, performed better than less intense conversations extended over a long time.

Short but intense communication helps to maintain momentum and motivation and create feelings of enthusiasm.

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Remain objective

Great problem solvers approach each new problem as though it were brand new. 

That way they can apply a specific solution to the problem instead of a fix that may go only partway.

List the obstacles

Great problem solvers take a high-level view of the issues involved and jot down a list of all the potential factors that could get in the way of a solution. 

Identify the opportunity

So many times great opportunities are wrapped up inside simple problems.

The problem at hand may be symptomatic of bigger problems with your systems or perhaps your industry.

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Brainstorming

It encourages people to come up with thoughts and ideas that can, at first, seem a bit crazy. Some of these ideas can be crafted into original, creative solutions to a problem, while others can ...

Brainstorming for problem solving

  • It brings team members' diverse experience into play. It increases the richness of ideas explored, which means that you can often find better solutions.
  • It can help you get buy-in from team members for the solution chosen – after all, they're likely to be more committed to an approach if they were involved in developing it. 
  • It helps team members bond, as they solve problems in a positive, rewarding environment.

Why individual brainstorming might bring better results

  • groups aren't always strict in following the rules of brainstorming, and bad behaviors creep in
  • people pay so much attention to other people that they don't generate ideas of their own – or they forget these ideas while they wait for their turn to speak. 

On your own, you don't have to worry about other people's egos or opinions, and you can be freer and more creative.

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