In the pre-pandemic era, the connected workplace was the office where everyone came together every day to be productive. But things have changed, and there's been a lot of discussion about the difficult task of making remote employees feel connected. So far, it seems that we still can't agree on what a connected workplace is nowadays, and how to create one.
Could it be that things are simpler than they look?
First, however, let’s see what we mean by workplace connection. A connected workplace is simply one that integrates all assets, business and tech tools so that everyone, regardless of location, can communicate and collaborate effectively. This shared system greatly simplifies the management of employees and ensures a fair, transparent, and ultimately connected workplace.
The Importance of Connecting With Employees in the Workplace
Connection is, perhaps, the most important component in building a productive and efficient workplace. Connected teams experience a sense of belonging, cultivate healthy working relationships and support knowledge sharing. The more connected we are as colleagues, the more efficient the workplace will be, and the more engaged we will feel.
Benefits of a Connected Workplace
With teams spread across cities, states and countries, innovative systems that support collaboration are becoming a must. A connected workplace offers many benefits, and investing in connected office technologies will only foster collaboration, mobility, efficiency, data collection and profitability.
Teams that don’t collaborate well remotely slow down business functions. A connected workplace solution should integrate with other tools the company uses and facilitate communication and collaboration between individuals, teams and executives.
In a connected workplace, employees can work from any location and any device. The flexibility allows them to easily complete tasks, because everything they need to get work done is always available. If your employees can’t do this, it might be time to rethink the old workflows.
A connected workplace needs a great automation strategy which allows employees to automate tasks that don't require human intervention, and use the time saved to complete more complex tasks instead. Remote support IT, for example, can reduce downtime and increase efficiency.
Conduct most of your business on a single integrated platform and make it easy to collect data about how employees work. Employee preferences and satisfaction, time management and productivity, and IT tickets are just some of the information you could be recording to help you make more informed decisions.
Collaboration, mobility, efficiency, and data capture can save costs, increase productivity, and improve employee retention. These benefits ultimately translate into the biggest advantage for the companies willing to innovate: profitability.
Redefining the Workplace
Connected workplace technologies enable employees’ access to information and resources. No need to keep on tying success to physical visibility when smart solutions are being developed every day allow employees access to the same on-site environment—regardless of where they work.
Technology and Tools Supporting Connected Workplace
It’s no longer about where you go, it's about what you get done. By connecting disparate data points, technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, cloud or mobility offerings help organizations make faster and better decisions. Plus, they bring excitement to the business, boost productivity and increase security!
30 Ideas to Create a More Connected Workplace
A few tips on how to create a more connected workplace for your employees:
1. Define, Share, and Live By Your Company Mission, Vision, and Values
You can’t create a connected workforce if your employees don’t have any common goals. It’s essential to promote the corporate vision, mission and values throughout the organization. Post them on an easily accessible platform, and encourage your employees to align their individual goals with it!
2. Lead by Example and Give Examples
Organizations launch new initiatives to encourage collaboration all the time. However, if leaders don't lead by example, such initiatives are unlikely to be embraced by employees. Collaboration practices only become a natural and authentic part of the culture when leaders support and reinforce them.
3. Create a Sense of Belonging for All
Everyone should feel comfortable and safe at work. Help employees feel that way by creating an open and welcoming environment. Regularly share personal and company photos and stories to maintain a personal tone in the workplace. Social events should also be held regularly—even virtual ones.
4. Have More “Engaged” Employees in an Organization
Enthusiasm, commitment and interest are the basic requirements for an employee to be "engaged". But while someone can be engaged when they are busy getting something done, if they lack enthusiasm they won’t be contributing to the innovation process.
5. Know Your Employees Personally
Managers and HR professionals need to connect with their employees on a personal level. This creates a sense of belonging and encourage employees to want to stay with the company longer. Benevolent activities should be done consistently for this reason, and no employee should be “skipped”, for any reason.
6. Increase Collaborative Working
While social events allow employees to socialize naturally in their preferred groups, they can occasionally make some people feel marginalized or excluded. Create work situations where collaboration happens in different ways. Encourage employees to work on cross-company projects, with new people.
7. Make Mission-Critical Information Available
Important information should be well documented, easily accessible, and clearly communicated. The clarity helps workers remain focused on the overall task at hand, rather than browsing for information. Why not build a robust library to centralize all the documents staff might need?
Keep Information Flowing
Create ways for information to be accessible from anywhere. Information flow answers the crucial question of how to stay connected with your colleagues while working remotely, because information flow is multi-directional. Complete transparency with one’s colleagues is the goal here.
8. Make It Easy to Celebrate
Cultivating a habit of effortless recognition and, of course, celebration is key to making employees feel valued. Give everyone permission to celebrate in their own way, and do it often! Unite your workforce with an instant peer reward system and encourage friendly internal competitions.
9. Foster a Culture of Employee Recognition
Foster a culture that invites experimentation and supports and rewards employees for trying out new ideas. This way, employees won’t be afraid to adjust and try again. Create a system to encourage them to recognize each other’s achievements, celebrate, and even award them.
Give Recognition to the Voice of Employees
Encourage open and meaningful conversations, and provide accessible internal communication channels. Make it easy for all to join in. Create a virtual model of a "suggestion box" where employees can contribute ideas regarding how to improve the work environment.
10. Help Every Employee Reach Their Goals
Encouraging employees to set and achieve individual goals that are specific, measurable, and relevant to the company is a great way to keep them motivated. Regular check-ins and progress reviews will help you assess performance and ensure that any potential challenges or areas for improvement are addressed.
11. Make It Easier to Ask for Support
Create a reciprocity ring, where employees can meet regularly and share what they're struggling with. The rest of the group can then offers ideas, contacts, and resources to support them. When employees invest in each other's personal development, a culture where friendships can thrive is created.
12. Create Diverse Opportunities for Social Interaction
Remote work can affect employees' opportunities to meet new people. You could try creating ongoing opportunities for social interaction, both within existing groups and with new people (during team nights, employees might socialize with their colleagues but miss out on the opportunity to make new connections).
13. Embrace Random Connections
Create groups based on personal interests to connect team members from different departments. This will also make those entering the workforce feel like part of team quicker! Set up a platform where employees can join clubs and communities and find like-minded people outside of their departments.
14. Make Your Culture Visible
A conscious expression of your culture helps people understand what matters and connect with them. From office decor to team meetings, it all gives clues to what your culture is about. Keep employees involved and connected to the pulse and culture of the company by making sure it is transparent.
15. Give Your Employees a Voice
According to Forbes, employees who feel they are being listened to are 4.6 times more motivated to do their best at work. Encourage open and meaningful conversations, and provide accessible internal communication channels for people to voice their opinions and ideas.
16. Hear What Your Employees Are Actually Saying and Act On It
Do you conduct regular employee engagement surveys? Do you encourage regular conversations and one-on-one meetings? Are you listening to what your employees have to say, measuring it, and acting on it? Pay attention to feedback and consider new solutions to improve the employee experience.
17. Sheltered Onboarding Process
HR staff and managers must create a welcoming environment for the entry-level employee that allows them to develop confidence and do their best in their new roles. Make them feel connected by running virtual orientation programs and helping them learn at their own pace.
18. Hire or Grow Authentic, Passionate Leaders
Your leaders should be your key liaisons. Find candidates who truly care about your people and your company. Make them understand the importance of helping teams align and find help. Leaders should first and foremost strive to be approachable and make personal connections.
19. Challenge Traditional Frameworks
Analysis of digital communication patterns using AI has exploded in the workplace, and it’s no wonder! Companies need to think about how employees can stay connected while working from home or remotely these days, and understanding employee behavior patterns by using AI can definitely help with that.
20. Think of Your Organization as a Community
In a community, members are supported and respected, work is unified and common goals are pursued. Regular social events, whether online or face to face, can bring the company and its employees together, and help create a family-like atmosphere.
21. Act of Kindness and Treat Every Employee With the Same Respect
Treat every employee as an equal, provide equal opportunities, include everyone and encourage them to participate at social events. Use emotional intelligence to tap into your employees' emotions and show them empathy to gain their trust.
22. 1:1 Connect
During 1:1 interactions employees are more likely to feel seen and valued. Such meetings are important when it comes to performance management, as you can give (and receive) constructive feedback. Make sure to let them know that their presence is important to the company.
23. Provide Non-monetary Increments to Employees
Non-monetary incentives are benefits that employers offer to their employees. They are a way to reward people outside of the regular, monetary compensation and benefits package. Examples include work flexibility, experience bonuses, and even additional time off.
24. Smart Recruitment
Smart recruitment is an updated, improved version of recruitment, better adapted to today. We live in an intelligent, AI-enabled world, and recruitment processes must mimic this environment. From software for screening applicants and AI work companions for onboarding, tech has reshaped the way recruiting is done. Are you keeping up with it?
25. Team Building Activities and Social Events
Sometimes, video calls, online games, movies and virtual social events are our only means of entertainment. Promote this culture in your workplace to connect better: you could try hosting online games and team-building activities for employees every Friday evening, for example. And make sure to invite everyone!
26. Grouping Based on Interests
How do you stay in touch with your colleagues when you work from home? A simple but effective way would be to set up group chats based on interests. Let employees talk about their favorite topics with like-minded people. Yes, this totally counts as team-building!
27. Create Productivity Zones
Productivity zones and quiet spaces help employees think and get things done. They provide space to stretch out and focus on work, while keeping friends and colleagues nearby for a quick brainstorm. This is an easy, cost-effective way to show employees that you’re giving them the space they need on-site.
28. Build More Collaboration Spaces
While productivity zones offer peace and quiet, collaboration spaces provide opportunities for employees to meet, socialize and share ideas. Make sure you equip these spaces with tools like whiteboards, post-it notes, markers, pens, and remote conferencing tools to support ideation and collaboration.
29. Optimize Your Space for Mental Health and Wellness
Ensuring the safety and health of your employees in the workplace is absolutely essential. But mental health is important, too. Why not incorporate "five minutes of play" at the beginning of team meetings in the form of a bonding exercise or interactive game, to encourage deeper relationships and better collaboration?
30. Make Workplace Connection a Ritual
As spontaneous moments of human connection in the workplace become more difficult to achieve in a remote or hybrid environment… we need to create more of them! Vulnerable sharing and storytelling inspire curiosity and compassion and foster belonging. When was the last time you had a chat with your colleagues that wasn’t about work?
Building a culture of connection means making sure everyone feels like they belong, regardless of where or how they work. Communication should be inclusive and not favour or give preferential treatment to anyone. What are you best tips for building a connected workplace?