For the past two years, it feels like businesses have been working in a state of limbo. They’re unsure of what the future’s going to hold. Is there going to be another heavy lockdown? Will employees be able to come into the office? Should we even be asking them to? Or should we be focussing on remote working.
We’re the first to point out that there are huge benefits to embracing a work-from-home environment.
- Improved productivity
- Increased efficiency
- Less commuting
- Better quality of time
But there’s one area that I feel is missing when it comes to having teams working from home. And it’s something that we at Solid Systems care strongly about. Human connection.
An Innate Lack of Connection
When I think of working from home full-time, I think of that John Travolta movie, The Boy in the Plastic Bubble. Because that’s what I feel like when I work from home. I shut myself away. I barely see anyone but my family. And when I’m in work-mode, I try not to see them either. I’m so focussed on making the most of my time, proving that I am more efficient, cutting down distractions, that there just isn’t space for human connection.
I know that I’m not alone in this. Companies around the world are finding their remote workforces just don’t connect to each other as easily as they would if they were in the same space. It’s just part and parcel of working remotely – you don’t see as many people as you would in an office environment, and when you do, your conversations tend to be stinted, with a heavy focus on work and getting things done rather than chatting.
It’s having a severe impact on company culture. Employees feel less connected to one another, which in turn makes them feel less connected to the companies that they’re working for. We know that company culture plays a huge role in employee satisfaction and even in staff retention. A fulfilled and happy team member won’t feel the need to look for another position when they’re living their best possible life where they are.
This is a problem that we at Solid have actively been working on. We want our humans to feel connected to each other and to our business. We want them to be having conversations and bonding. We’ve set up Teams to make communication as easy, and as enjoyable, as possible. We believe in video calls rather than phone calls or emails, and try to have our videos on in meetings whenever we can.
But it’s not the same.
There’s something special about working in the same room as another person. Being able to turn around and ask a question, work-related or not. Having the opportunity to laugh together at something that’s just happened. Sharing stories. Sharing experiences. Truly connecting to one another over a real-life cup of coffee. You just don’t get that when you’re working in a home office with just your cat for company.
Does That Mean We Should All Go Back to the Office Full-Time?
I could be wrong, but I don’t think that backtracking and reverting to the old 8-5 desk-bound mentality is what the future holds. Just because remote working isn’t perfect, it doesn’t mean that we can ignore all of the benefits that come with it.
In my mind, I don’t see why it has to be either/or. Why can’t it be both?
Why can’t we find ways to accommodate and embrace remote working environments, while still offering our humans the opportunity to connect in the office? We should be making our work environments enticing areas that our employees want to come to, and feel comfortable coming to on their own schedules, rather than laying down the law.
This is why we’ve decided to embrace the concept of a hybrid workplace model.
What Does a Hybrid Workplace Look Like?
In the old days you’d come into an office and your desk would be waiting for you with your desktop, screens and cables tethering you to one spot. In a hybrid workplace model, it’s all about having hot desks – ready for you to come and go as you please. No more assigned seating. No more cubicles and cordoned off spaces. Rather, our hybrid office working environments embrace the camaraderie of people from different teams sitting together in a shared space.
Bring your laptop from home. Spend some time in the kitchen together chatting while you make coffee. Book out the boardroom as you need it. Make the most of the space and the people sharing it with you for the once or twice a week that you come in, and spend the rest of your time continuing to work flexibly from home without a hassle of a commute.
Sometimes You May Need Some Help Making the Shift
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that changing to a hybrid workplace model is going to be easy. It means making the most of two ways of working, and there are always going to be some adjustments that take time to get used to. But in the same way that Solid Systems has been helping businesses to make the most of remote working environments, we’re here to help you embrace the idea of hybrid working as well.
Talk to us about your business and its unique needs, and we’ll be happy to guide you through these challenging times, ensuring that you’re using the right tech for remote working solutions and maximizing its potential to make you money and help you step confidently into the future.