Supporting Connections in New Work Environments - Igor Poza
The past couple of years have changed the workplace environment for good. People are no longer used to going to work five days a week in-person. Some jobs will never be in-person again. Others may have a mix of remote and in-person work. No matter what type of work schedule an employer may choose, all of their company cultures have suffered.
Company culture is critical to any company’s success. If workers feel as though they are valued and respected, they will be more inclined to think creatively and produce passionate work. This is amplified even more if they feel connected to their colleagues. This creates a domino effect into increased company growth.
Unfortunately, many people these days have never met their coworkers, therefore they have never connected with one another or know anything about their fellow colleagues. Work culture and environment need to be carefully considered by leaders, now more than ever. There must be intentional actions made by employers to guarantee that their culture does not fail.
I recently came across a Forbes article on sustaining company culture. Besides ensuring that all employees have a sense of shared purpose in company objectives and feel accountable for results, one of the tactics the author described was ensuring social capital to employees. I found this brilliant because culture and making connections are critical components that have lasting impacts on employees and businesses.
“One of the most important determinants of relationship is proximity. The people we see most and interact with frequently are the people we tend to get closest to. We experience their ups and downs. We know what’s going on in their life and we can understand where they’re coming from. All of this tends to build empathy and connectedness. Proximity, however, is all about perception. The most powerful proximity is real — people we see and speak with face-to-face. But it can also be perceived — feeling close, even when we don’t see each other frequently — and it can be aided by virtual connection.
“Another of the casualties of the pandemic has been social capital. People are having trouble building it if they are new to a company or a role, and they are challenged to maintain it when they don’t see colleagues in person. Strong cultures also have intricate webbing of social capital — the networks of people across the organization. Social capital helps individuals because it provides for fulfilling relationships, new ideas and advice for how to get things done within the organization. Social capital is also good for companies because by giving people context, a sounding board and advice, it improves decision making, efficiency and effectiveness. To maintain positive cultures in hybrid working situations, leaders will need to be intentional about encouraging people to build their networks. They can do this by connecting people across departments, providing for cross-functional learning opportunities and creating time for people to have virtual coffee or networking discussions with colleagues across the company.”
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