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Q&A Series – Collaboration and Culture in the Modern Workplace – Craig Somerville

How do you keep your employees collaborative, productive and content when they’re not in the same place? In this article Craig Somerville, our CEO, discusses the Modern Workplace and how to create a positive culture—no matter where your employees are working from.  

The Modern Workplace at a Glance 

Every Modern Workplace looks different depending on the business. I’ve always been a big fan of flexible work and having the technology in place to make that a seamless experience is what I see as a truly Modern Workplace. It’s where employees can work productively from wherever they want to while being able to securely access the data and applications they need for their job. This helps employees feel more motivated because they can tailor their working day to suit them.  

Pre-pandemic Workplace Culture Trends 

Before the pandemic, there was a skills shortage in tech and a range of other industries, which meant organisations were struggling to hold onto staff. With recruiters and competitors constantly chasing employees, it was critical to maintain satisfaction so that you wouldn’t lose people, particularly around the fringes. And obviously collaboration and culture play a big role in that. 

The trend for more flexibility was also starting to become widespread as a result of the wellness movement. Hot-desking setups in offices were on the rise and people were becoming more and more mobile outside of the office with advancements in technology such as laptops, smartphones, remote accessibility and mobile workstations. 

The Impact of COVID-19 on Culture and Collaboration 

Even though people want to feel more secure and initially, weren’t switching jobs as much, the pandemic has put even more focus on employee satisfaction and wellness. Businesses are now leveraging Modern Workplaces to help improve employee satisfaction and keep their teams connected and motivated. And since flexible working environments are now a big drawcard for employees, it’s critical for businesses to jump on this trend to retain and attract quality talent. 

With teams becoming more dispersed than ever before due to lockdowns and the hybrid work trend, providing an environment where people feel connected is important. Before the pandemic, this would happen more naturally because people could see each other in the office, but now technology is providing this connection. 

The Challenges of Physically Dispersed Workplaces 

Now that workplaces are more dispersed, it’s important to have systems in place that allow employees to collaborate digitally in real time. When people are working from home, it can be easy to fall into the trap of working independently and losing that valuable teamwork element. It also means that the social aspects, such as lunch or knock-off drinks, don’t flow naturally and can be lost. To overcome this challenge, it’s important to use a mix of both technology and actively working to make the environment better for your employees, no matter where they are. This means scheduling the online Friday drinks or arranging team meet ups once lockdown is over. It could be having the team all be in the office on particular days of the week, it’s about finding the mix that works for your organisation and the team.  

With people working from here, there and everywhere, it’s important your employees have access to technology that helps maintain productivity. This could range from high-performance HP laptops powered by Intel®, to accessories such as keyboards, monitors and webcams. Programs such as Microsoft Teams have also become a popular choice for maintaining and encouraging collaboration in hybrid workplaces. This makes it easier for everyone to stay connected and on the same page by providing a range of great tools such as video conferencing, chats, file sharing and calendars. 

As well as having the technology in place to support seamless communication and collaboration, businesses need to proactively manage and check in with their staff to make sure nobody feels isolated. Whether that’s with regular scheduled check-ins, one on one virtual meetings or virtual events—it takes more of an active effort to do this remotely, but it’s important. Keeping the lines of communication open also helps reduce misunderstandings that can happen as a result of secondhand knowledge. 

Dealing with Digital Fatigue 

Not being in contact with people is difficult, so there’s no quick fix for the digital fatigue a lot of people are feeling. However, a significant amount of fatigue comes from frustration, so if you can minimise that frustration with solutions that create a seamless working environment wherever your employees are, that can help a lot. At the end of the day, lockdown situations where people aren’t seeing each other in person are probably still going to cause fatigue, but technology can help soften the effects.  

Collaboration and Culture Predictions for 2022 and Beyond 

When things open back up, businesses will continue to leverage the benefits of hybrid working environments. They may dial the remote aspect back slightly, but it will still be the norm to have a mix of working in the office and working from home. Advancements in technology will continue to make switching between different working environments more seamless for employees and hopefully we’ll see a nice balance with a lot less digital fatigue. 

Our Modern Workplace services help make team collaboration and productivity seamless, wherever your employees are. Get in touch with our team of experts to learn more today. 

 

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When things open back up, businesses will continue to leverage the benefits of hybrid working environments.

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