2022 State of the Digital Workplace & Modern Intranet Report
The workplace continues to change fundamentally, and with that, so must our managerial styles. With the shift to remote and hybrid work, many teams, and leaders in general, are left to fend for themselves while still producing quality work and increasing productivity. The truth of the matter is though, if you continue to do what you've always done, you will continue to yield the same results.
How can we expect our employees to adapt to changes if leadership teams across the globe are not acknowledging these changes and adjusting their business models accordingly? The short answer is that we can't. But how do we provide quality leadership and management, when the workplace is changing for us as well? We are also trying to navigate unfamiliar territory.
We've provided 10 tips to help you better lead and connect your dispersed workforce, whether employees are working remotely, taking a hybrid approach, are getting back on the road and traveling for meetings and events, are working on the front lines and do not have the privilege of sitting at their computer all day.
The best way to support and lead a team is to first understand them. What drives them? What is important to them? What do they need from you? What do they need from their teammates?
There are several activities you and your team can do, even from behind computer screens, to determine what is going to ultimately lead you to success. Here are some tips to better understand and lead your team:
In recent years, we've redirected our thinking in terms of work/life balance as a society. As little as five years ago even, work was at the forefront of our minds and, for many, came ahead of their personal life. At this time, health may not have even been in the picture. We've now come to realize through recent events the importance of this work/life/health balance.
Employees have changed their ways of thinking around how work, play, and ultimately, health, coexist in our everyday lives. When one of these areas does not get as much attention, your whole foundation deteriorates with it. The truth is, we NEED this balance to keep the machine running.
A good leader needs to take empathy over what and how things have changed for their team. Though many employees are thriving in remote and hybrid workplaces, several find it more difficult. Whether the isolation from their team makes them lonely or they feel they aren't as productive, many employees are fighting this workplace battle every day.
Are your employees now working from home where they are taking care of children or elderly parents? Has anyone on your team recently become ill or injured and has constant appointments they need to attend throughout the workday? All of these situations, and so many more, can have a detrimental effect on company and team morale. We need to find ways to adapt to our teams' ever-changing wants and needs.
The average office worker receives 121 email messages per day and 35% are left unread. This is not to say that email communication is dead, but exactly the opposite. Email communications are thriving and are an integral part of an employee's work day. This does however mean important email communications must be clear and concise. With so many other tasks happening all at once, employees need to know where to focus their attention. Whether this is setting up rules with your team to identify "must read" emails or utilizing a third party system to get messages across, your team must be able to connect with each other as well as management and other departments easily.
What are the best ways to connect your employees to the business?
Team bonding does not always have to take an entire day and doesn't have to break the bank. Many organizations think of team bonding as an annual team building day. Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, there are so many other ways to connect your team on a smaller scale.
Bonding and team-building exercises can be done both in-person and remotely. With the multitude of video conferencing services, teams can connect on a daily basis. So why not incorporate these services into your routine? Set up a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly cadence for your team to get together, chat, and spend an hour taking a break from due dates and bottom lines.
Take this opportunity to offer kudos and let your teammates do the same for each other. Recognition is often very important to employees and this is a great way for your team to bond and build relationships. Then spend a few more minutes doing a fun activity to bring the team closer together. The most important part of these meetings though, is to NEVER cancel. Company culture and employee engagement improve when teams are able to build relationships within their company.
Don't assume anything. The best way to cater to your employees and provide what they really want and need is to ask them what they want and need. In as little as 5-10 years ago, employees want perks like snacks in the breakroom and a putting green outside the conference room, but with less people working in the office now, this is no longer the case.
Create an employee survey and ask the questions you want answers for. Ask your employees what you're doing well in terms of company culture and how you can improve. Ask your employees what they ultimately want to see and how they want to view your company culture. When you ask these types of questions, employees are able to provide honest feedback that is insightful and can be used to implement new initiatives.
Celebrate anything worth celebrating. Be intentional and authentic, but celebrate the big and the small wins. Teams connect so much better when they are given the opportunity to acknowledge the team's milestones, victories, sales, etc.
There's no one way to celebrate either. Have your team brainstorm together how they want to see their wins highlighted. In case you get stuck or need a starter idea, here are a few examples that can help.
Tips #8 & #9
Which of these two images represents your team or company? When employees are not able to communicate face to face, meetings are much more meaningless and interactive. Relationships are more apt to form when employees are able to see reactions, gestures, and demeanors of those they are talking with. Additionally, people will be far less likely to multi-task during meetings, increasing productivity and decreasing repetition of topics and follow-up questions on answers that have already been given.
This can oftentimes feel like a daunting task for those working remotely, but it helps in so many ways. When your camera is on, most likely you will not be watching tv or scrolling through your phone. This will ultimately allow you to focus better increasing productivity and decreasing wasted time repeating things and asking questions. This can also help employees who are struggling with remote work because they cannot get out of their pajamas. If their camera is on, more than likely, employees will be better groomed and dressed than if they were hiding behind the screen, which can have a huge impact on self-esteem.
A digital solution can be used to implement all of the tips listed above. From more streamlined communications to employee interaction, digital employee experiences have been improving the quality of work for so many for years.
Topics frequently seen, and used, on these types of platforms include news articles and company alerts, conversation streams and messaging features, as well as survey and feedback capabilities. A digital solution can host all of your business applications in one central location, aiding employees throughout their workdays, and ultimately, their careers,