From hugging politics to do-we-don’t we return to the office. The once so simple act of going to work has become a regimented and constructed process of safety precautions and personal risk assessments.
Whilst the workplace policy makers are writing up the new and refreshed ways of working for their teams, one thing remains constant through all this, we are all still missing each other and we are all still craving connection.
So let’s be real; we do miss the office, OK we miss some things about the office.
And whilst we are all enjoying a bit of this WFH business (the time to go to the gym without a 5:30am alarm, not standing in a sweaty armpit for 10 tube stops and those extra monthly savings from not investing all your money in TFL), the parts of the office environment that we are missing, are our colleagues. The buzz of hanging out with them during and after work, at events together at 1am in the morning, getting each other coffee, creative brainstorms across the boardroom and the end-of-the-day working day cool down together en route to the tube home. Gosh, I miss this!
I think quite accurately, according to research, 91% of the UK’s office workers would like to work from home at least part of the time once the pandemic is over (my top 3 reasons stated above!), and as we know, some companies have already moved to 100% remote working for the long term future.
But whether we are WFH full time, gradually returning or planning for a full time office come back, I do think we have and are all really feeling the lack of physical team spirit we use to have pre 23rd March 2020. We need to find ways to re-spark and re-strengthen the team relationships we have from the good old office days as we start to slowly return to the ‘new-normal’
So for those on a gradual return or who will be working from home full time or part time, we need to find ways of creating connections between the physical office space and our working from home set up to ensure we maintain our colleague-connections, productivity and creativity in return.
We also need to make sure team members still feel needed, acknowledged and rewarded for hard graft, now, and moving forward.
We have found some fantastic examples of companies who have created technology to ensure we can continue these much needed human connections at work, even if it is virtually.
Vibe is a super new app used in conjunction with Slack for measuring the “vibe” of your team.
In their own words “Vibe uses Natural Language Processing to analyse Slack conversations and find specific markers of human language that convey specific emotions or sentiments”
This allows you, the user (or the manager), to recognise and reward high morale, and effectively target and tackle low morale.
Another great example is Donut, which aims to recapture those spontaneous moments of collaboration and team spirit we have in our physical work environments that we are missing so much.
As they describe it, like the Watercooler moments.
Donut can host things like a CEO virtual coffee lottery to help CEOs and managers stay connected to their team, and the team connected to the business. Or you can create on-boarding buddies for new starters or share your team working styles to help build a more cohesive team.
A brilliant bit of tech which helps us to still connect, whilst working remotely or partially remote.
And if you do miss the hum of your colleagues and the office, there is Spotify’s Sound of Colleagues which allows you to mimic the sound of your workspace wherever you are working from!
You can adjust the sound levels of the room tone, you could add the coffee machine going on, keyboards typing, the sound of windows opening, and even the office dog barking! I tell you what I do not miss the sound of keyboards tapping away.
But we do recommend you check this one out, if you haven’t already!
So what are the opportunities for you and your team? Looking back to connections in your working life – Could you create a virtual or digital pathway to connect with your colleagues whilst we are working from home, now, and in the future. How much could your morale, communication and therefore productivity benefit from these?
Whatever your new normal is, ensure you have the right tools set up for you and your team to be the best you can be, however, together.
Verve is an agency celebrating 30 years at the top of the events, experiential and marketing industries. This podcast pulls from that wealth of experience, giving key insights from the past, tips for the future, and everything in between.
You can listen to the first episode of The Verve Experience here https://audioboom.com/
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