Engaged employees are more productive and less likely to quit. But creating engagement is easier said than done. A recent study by Gartner found that only 13% of employees feel completely satisfied with their experience at work.
While HR initiatives like active listening and career progression are important for the mid- to long-term employee journey, IT plays an important role from day one to ensure that all employees have the tools and resources they need to be productive. IT teams and HR must work together to create an organizational culture in which employees can thrive.
Here are 6 things business and IT leaders can do to improve workplace culture.
1. Provide proper equipment
Equipment is fundamental for all businesses. A functioning workplace needs the right equipment for employees to achieve their objectives. As technology evolves and becomes more prevalent in all aspects of a business, it’s increasingly important to make informed decisions for better operational management.
We are contending with a post-pandemic world in which remote work is more accepted, resulting in an increased need for control over employee devices.
With hybrid setups, we’re seeing the security and logistical challenges that come from ensuring employees have the tools they need. Consider the acquisition of equipment, which can be difficult thanks to import duties that make international shipping more challenging.
[ Also read Reimagining employee retention: 4 tips. ]
On top of that, employees have personal preferences. Some people work more productively on a Mac and others on a Windows computer. Corporate policies should not force employees into making choices that impede their own productivity.
2. Offer the best tools
In today’s remote and hybrid workplace, communication has become more difficult, particularly for companies with a large percentage of remote employees. But effective communication is essential for any business to succeed, and it has always been a cornerstone of successful operations.
Inadequate communication can lead to fragmented, unfinished, and inconsistent work from teams and collaborators. In addition to impacting the quality of work, poor communication can also harm company culture and hinder employees’ professional growth of employees.
Recognize that practices and tools that were considered state-of-the-art just a few years ago may no longer be effective or efficient. Employees prefer tools that offer consumer-grade user experiences, lighting-fast page loads powered by sophisticated caching, and easy access across web, mobile, and chatbots.
3. Promote freedom
The shift to remote work has given employees more flexibility and control over their work-life balance. Consider enabling your employees with options such as reduced working hours, flexible work locations, time off, and increased opportunities for learning and development.
Rather than asking, “Why should this be allowed?” ask the opposite. Unless there is a good reason not to do so, don’t be afraid to give employees new freedoms.
This comes with new challenges, and managing hybrid and remote work arrangements can be challenging. One critical aspect is to ensure that remote employees can securely and seamlessly access company systems wherever they are located.
4. Provide fast, reliable internet
Access to high-quality internet is crucial for both businesses and employees. The most effective productivity tools require fast and responsive internet connections, with split-second page load times. A slow or laggy internet connection can significantly disrupt work, hinder productivity, and cause frustration.
If you have employees working from home, consider supplementing their home internet plan upgrades. A study conducted by ComputerWeekly found that employees working from home lose over half an hour of work per day, on average, due to internet problems. This means the ones with particularly unreliable internet may lose more than an hour daily.
If you’re in an office environment, investing in fast and reliable internet ensures these disruptions don’t occur and can help motivate employees to work from the office more often.
5. Meet employees eye-to-eye
The traditional hierarchical way of managing employees has been shown to be largely ineffective. Companies run as adhocracies are more productive as they foster knowledge sharing, workplace collaboration, and rapid adaptation—some of the most important attributes for companies in the knowledge-based age.
By encouraging employees to be more self-sufficient and less dependent on their superiors, you can promote greater efficiency and effectiveness in the workplace.
Start adopting more self-service options for employees. Modern IT and HR systems can be calibrated to your employees’ needs and enable them to help themselves, whether they want to book a vacation, access important documents, get a better screen, or access an enterprise app.
6. Have an amazing office
Although hybrid and remote work seems to be the preferred model for many organizations, it still has disadvantages.
Many remote and hybrid employees struggle to manage the blurred boundary between work and personal life, or the often less-than-ideal workplace setups.
Having access to an amazing office has become an employee perk. Modern offices should incorporate innovative ideas that enhance employees’ workplace comfort and productivity. There is a clear ROI to invest in a high-quality office environment that compensates for the additional time and money employees spend on commuting.
It’s time to abandon the old-fashioned workplace environment of small cubicles and narrow glass dividers. Instead, strive to create an open, airy environment with plenty of natural light, spacious workstations, professional desks and chairs, high-quality equipment, comfortable seating, and greenery to add liveliness to the workplace.
7. Schedule offsites
The remote work model has led some businesses to completely do away with traditional offices, which is reflected in the continuous increase in office vacancies across the U.S. But many of these same companies make a point of regularly gathering their employees in an offsite location.
An offsite event can take many forms, such as a quarterly retreat or a temporary workspace for specific projects. It can also happen in a variety of locations and frequencies. For instance, it might be a quarterly retreat at a nearby site or an annual getaway at a far-off and exotic location. The frequency of these events is subject to your company’s demands and financial constraints.
Regular team activities have many benefits, even for companies that prioritize office-based work. By enabling in-person interactions outside an office or virtual setting, team events can help foster stronger bonds between colleagues.
Establishing an environment that caters to the well-being and productivity of your employees is just the beginning. A thriving workplace requires communication, collaboration, and consideration of your employees’ ideas and opinions. Nurturing your employees’ development and growth requires continuous learning and improvement.
While not every workplace improvement effort will succeed, take note of what works and what doesn’t on your journey. The destination should be a workplace that prioritizes employee investment and provides a positive, productive culture.
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