#10things about reconnecting with the culture of work

The world of work has become unrecognisable from what it was before, after more than two years of disruption and uncertainty.

The world of work has become relatively unrecognisable from what it was before, after more than two years of disruption and uncertainty. In order to adapt to this new, and often volatile, socioeconomic environment, organisations have undergone significant change in the way they operate. This has manifested in an accelerated shift to remote work and digital transformation, says David Seinker, founder and CEO of The Business Exchange. Here he explains how the world of work has changed and what employee expectations are now.

1. Isolation – Shift in employee expectations

As we move into living with the pandemic, we’re starting to see a shift in workers’ expectations from employers as well. According to Microsoft’s latest Work Trend Index report, more than 70% of workers want flexible, remote work options to continue – while at the same time over 65% are craving more in-person time with their teams. This data clearly shows that although the workforce is looking for the flexibility that remote work provides, they are also feeling increasingly isolated while working remotely.

2. Reconnection – Keep employees connected

With flexibility and remote work set to define the post-pandemic workplace, businesses and business leaders need to prioritise reconnecting with employees as well as keeping workers connected, in order to avoid fatigue and isolation which negatively impacts employee wellness and productivity.

3. New models – Embracing a hybrid environment

What does reconnecting really mean in the professional context and how can businesses go about it effectively to drive both business outcomes and personal professional development? Catering to the significant appetite for remote work to continue, while also mitigating any feelings of disconnect or isolation, requires a delicate balancing act. Additionally, while some workers may have thrived in a remote environment, others may find it difficult to adjust to.

4. Flexibility – A hybrid workplace model

A hybrid workplace model is where a portion of the workforce works from the physical office part of the time and remotely for the rest, can enable businesses to offer the flexibility that is now high in demand; while also allowing employees to have the traditional space to engage with one another in. To deploy an effective hybrid model, businesses need to lay out clear processes and policies around logistics and expectations, which will help organisations drive better employee wellbeing and productivity.

5. Workspace – Towards a more social system

Businesses also need to rethink the workspace to accommodate a hybrid workforce. Office buildings will become social spaces, as the days or times in which employees will be working from the office will likely be their biggest touchpoint for interacting with colleagues, managers and leadership. As such, maintaining traditional cubicle set-ups would be antithetical to supporting the more social environment that the office space will become. Therefore, businesses need to start reimagining physical office spaces to focus on collaboration, innovation and community building.

6. Connection – Avoiding team disconnect

Connection can mean different things to different people, so it can be a complex matter to navigate as a business. A common faux pas that businesses can make when trying to rebuild connection in a remote workplace, is in misunderstanding connection as simply social interaction. This is why, despite many organisations planning and implementing fun virtual interactions or team-building events while employees are working from home, employees can still feel disconnected.

7. Communication – Build new company culture

While face-to-face communication is important to fostering a sense of connection, it’s only one part of a bigger whole. Another simple way to promote connection in a remote setting can be to build company culture around appreciation and recognition.

8. Value – Employees need to feel heard

By ensuring that all employees feel that they are able to speak up, be heard, and acknowledged, companies can enable their staff to feel more connected with their work, colleagues, and the business itself, because they are not only able to actively participate in the business, but feel valued for doing so.

9. Flexiblity – Organisations must adapt

In a rapidly shifting and changing world of work, organisations must be flexible in the way they manage and approach their workforce. It is critical that businesses prioritise driving engagement and connection within their workforce who are so desperate for connection after more than two years apart.

10. Wellbeing – Employee wellbeing has impact

The wellbeing of employees has a direct impact on the work they produce and their willingness to stay with an organisation. In fact, the happiness of employees is one of the biggest contributors to the “great resignation” we have seen recently across the world.



Main image credit: Unsplash.com.


– Receive the Retailing Africa newsletter every Wednesday • Subscribe here.