As Covid-19 continues to disrupt the landscape of work, business leaders are still searching for ways to adapt to the new normal. A year into the pandemic, most workforces are still separated. Businesses are struggling to keep employee engagement high and workforces happy and healthy.
There is little doubt that the pandemic will have wide reaching and long-lasting consequences on the patterns of work. Consequently, businesses have found practical solutions that keep companies running smoothly outside of the office: Zoom, /Teams, Slack. Moreover, some businesses have even seen this disruption as an opportunity to take a new innovative approach to their digital transformation strategies, and will continue to embrace remote / flexible working once restrictions lift. However, where organisations are falling short is employee engagement, employee support and company culture.
In years past, company culture was largely built in and around the office. It was obvious where and who people could reach out to for help, if employees were struggling. Many organisations took great pride in their company culture, embedding their company values and beliefs into every corner of the office. From wellness rooms, to excellent coffee. From desk drinks on a Friday to free yoga and meditation classes. Many organisations delivered a lifestyle to their employees, not just a job.
This changing landscape left many organisations scrambling to maintain a compelling company culture and positive employee engagement.
Effects of the pandemic and remote work
The unexpected transition to remote work was extremely disruptive to company culture and employee engagement. A year on, theses struggles still exist. Many employees feel disconnected from the organisations they work for, as all their support systems were ingrained into the physical office space and proximity to colleagues. Lifestyle benefits get lost in the remote translation. Include also the added stress employees are under due to the pandemic, and the landscape for employee engagement is certainly a challenging one.
Why is employee engagement important?
Early research into the health implications of the pandemic in relation to mental health specifically, suggest employees were reporting reduced motivation, loss of purpose and motivation, anxiety and isolation. All factors which make employee engagement ever more important, and equally challenging.
According to a study by Gallup, employees who are engaged are 21% more productive. This takes into consideration a number of factors including better employee health, happiness and satisfaction. From an organisation perspective more productivity means lower absenteeism, higher retention and better customer service.
What should organisations be prioritising?
Organisations need to focus their efforts on building a culture of resilience within their workforces. Equipping their staff with the right skills, support systems and infrastructure in order to recover and thrive.
A recent study shows that people with close work friends were 96% more likely to say they felt “extremely satisfied with life”. Marissa King, professor of organisational behaviour at Yale, tells Axios that work friends can even boost our “sense of purpose and our intrinsic sense of motivation”. In a time where face-to-face interactions with colleagues is extremely difficult organisations should focus on digital solutions that connect their workforce socially. Moving forward encouraging employee friendships will be paramount. Research suggests that employees expect work to be a more social environment when offices do start re-opening. Social engagement will be a big reason people to start to return to the office. Therefore, organisations need to be laying down the groundwork for social connections and friends now.
Alongside Spike’s social forums and clubs, we have seen customers setup peer-to-peer support groups within their Spike Workplace portals, where employees can offer advice and support to one another. Employees have been using this area to reach out for support and engage with peers outside of work.
Another important aspect to consider is health and wellness. A recent JLL study finds employees now prioritise work-life balance over a comfortable salary, and three out of four expect their employer to support their health, wellbeing and even nutrition. Organisations should be evaluating how they create a better work-life balance and looking into tools and services which can help.
Furthermore, organisations should be using their company vision and mission as a guide to get employees through these challenging times. Employees need to be reassured that their organisations are making the right decisions at the right time. Forbes notes that employees will be more engaged and feel more connected and motivated knowing that their leaders have a proactive plan to keep the company on track. Consistent, cohesive communication is key and organisations will need to find effective communication channels.
SPIKE WORKPLACE AND THE NEW WAY OF WORKING
In response to the ongoing pandemic, Spike Global has just launched its new Spike Workplace application. The software helps companies and landlords promote a connected culture while the majority of office-based employees are working from home. The software will help companies and landlords adapt to a ‘blended’ way of working moving forward. Where we see employees cycle between remote and in-office working.
Spike’s workplace portal builds and manages buzzing, supportive communities where users can form meaningful connections. Companies can nurture the office culture virtually through social clubs, forums and events, keep occupants engaged with up-to-date news and articles. Importantly, employers can ensure staff are as settled and supported as possible by offering preventative health and well-being initiatives and support forums. Spike have also partnered with well-being provider Antidote, to offer further well-being services directly from their portal.
Long-term social engagement to create a sense of wellbeing and identity is a key element of what the software provides.
To find out more about our Workplace portal, get in touch and a consultant will be touch shortly.