A two part series on the Coronavirus and its affect on our workforce. In this post we explore the impact working from home could have on happiness, belonging and an organization’s culture.
What Does This All Mean?
In the first part of our series on the Coronavirus, and its effect on our workforce, we concluded with this observation:
For good reason, remote work is rapidly becoming a widely-accepted norm in today’s organizations, and it seems like COVID-19 may just further accelerate the rate at which this happens.
Recognizing this possibility, we believe that it’s important for organizations to proactively begin to make recovery and post-recovery planning in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Martin Reeves, a senior partner and manager at the BCG Henderson Institute, asserts that “recovery planning needs to start while you’re still reacting to the crisis,” and we couldn’t agree more.
Now, we’ll be building on our previous discussion to talk more about what all these findings mean.
The Impact of Working From Home
The core question now is this: as working from home becomes the new norm, how do we develop our organizations’ cultures in a way that harnesses the benefits of remote work, while limiting its potential downsides?
And there are certainly issues associated with remote work. Employees can often feel isolated and lonely when working away from the office, and the sense of isolation may have a tremendously negative impact on employees’ levels of work engagement. Communication may be tougher, and not being able to have spontaneous social interactions with coworkers may result in a loss of opportunities for innovation and new ideas.
As one Business Insider writer puts it, “the lack of interaction that often comes with remote work can also be a detriment to team-building — something that is built during meetings, lunches, or even water cooler conversations.”
As we look ahead and consider the potential for remote work to become a new norm, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, we have to think about how we can implement systematic practices that mitigate the problems associated with remote work. The biggest of these issues, in our opinion, is workplace isolation and loneliness.
In our experience, we believe that intentional, structured opportunities that give employees a chance to connect and begin to build relationships with one another is the answer. Especially in organizations where employees don’t spend every day with their coworkers in their offices, the valuable times where employees do get together need to be especially intentional and carefully designed. The ultimate prevention for workplace isolation and loneliness is (surprise!) cultivating relationships.
In-person meetings, then, should specifically emphasize team building, team skill enhancement, cultural development and leadership. The rare occasions when employees have an opportunity to have face-to-face time with one another need to be deliberate and well-planned out, with time dedicated towards relationship development and soft skill training. Information distribution and decision making can be done remotely, and in a much more efficient way if the foundations of relationship and communication are established in-person.
How Can Summit Help?
Our team building programs have been intentionally designed in a way that creates an atmosphere where participants can begin to initiate and develop their relationships with their colleagues. We’ve crafted these programs intricately based on our years of experience delivering these programs, and we’ve seen them cultivate connectedness within thousands of organizations.
And we’ll end on a bold point here – we believe that as remote work becomes more widely accepted in the global workforce, experiences like our team building programs will be the key to mitigating the critical issues that are associated with remote work such as workplace isolation and loneliness.
We’d love to speak with you today about how our programs can specifically benefit your organization and team, especially as you begin to prepare your company to succeed after this COVID-19 pandemic. We would also love to connect with you via our brand-new online preview event. For more information, please see below.