As much as many of us cringe at the phrase “new normal,” when it comes to fully- or partially-remote work conditions, it’s actually really important for us to buy into what a new normal looks like for businesses and employees. A new normal that includes permanent remote work, at least in part, needs to consider variables that connect to long-term remote viability:
- addressing feelings around inclusivity and isolation
- relationship building in remote environments, and
- continual productivity gains with connective solutions.
As we unpack each of these, you might be surprised at how many pertinent elements become visible. It’s not just about the business needs — the long-term human needs are critical to get right so that the workforce growing your business can operate on all cylinders.
Addressing feelings around inclusivity and isolation
There’s been a lot of conversation over the past year about the limitations and pains of remote work. As your teams settled into their home offices, team morale started to wane… a natural response for teams who were used to lively banter and impromptu side conversations. Even with the best efforts to keep a sense of inclusivity and a focus on culture, some things just don’t translate the same over the airwaves.
Isolation is a big deal — feeling alone, in your role and responsibilities, and physically disconnected from your team — especially for extroverts and newer employees who haven’t yet built strong bonds. Simply meeting up virtually doesn’t do much to quell the obvious reality that the workforce is sitting alone. Even for those who have roommates, a lively house, or an impeccably designed office, being disconnected from your work tribe brings isolation issues to the surface. A sense of belonging is infused into nearly every aspect of life, and it’s a studied variable in mental and physical health.
Inclusivity is not a check-box item that is simply done by inviting everyone to meetings or collaboration sessions. Being truly inclusive, so that even your most introverted, junior, or new team member feels seen, heard, and valued, takes a lot of consistent work. It is critical that you know your workforce in very personal ways, and forge deep connections with each of them, so that inclusivity is achieved. This used to happen organically, through spontaneous conversation in hallways, at the coffee bar, or during off-site lunches. And while some companies have worked to infuse this into their workdays, the majority of companies have lost this.
Addressing isolation and inclusivity could start by simply asking: ‘How can we creatively and positively affect the feelings of isolation and infuse our work day with more personal connection opportunities?’
Relationship building in remote environments
How much importance does your organization place on relationship building? A Harvard Study that focused on collecting and analyzing data around the biggest organizational issues that concern leadership right now—low engagement and trust—reported this:
- High-trust cultures and teams report 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, and a whopping 76% more engagement.
That’s a huge upside to investing in better ways for your geographically dispersed workforce to work together. But how can you effectively do this when remote teams are the new normal? Find a solution that creates an enhanced environment: space for real-time spontaneity, creative collaborations, and functionality that elicits the camaraderie of “the office.” With much of the world struggling with the same issues around relationships, trust, and culture, new-age solutions are coming to market.
Preference for remote work wins out over challenges
Despite the variety of challenges faced by dispersed teams, the overwhelming majority of professionals surveyed say that, in large part, they want to continue to work remote. This survey from PwC in February of 2021 provides ample data to back up that message, reporting that 72% of workers want a mix of remote and in-person work options.
In full credit to the spirit of the global workforce, people became incredibly more productive over the last year. Another survey cited 77% of the workforce felt that they had increased their effectiveness in a remote environment. They had to self-manage more, commit time to upskilling, and find creative solutions to new problems.
It’s likely that these performance benefits stemmed from other work-from-home side effects:
- finding more of a work-life balance
- eliminating commute stress
- flexibility for location independence
- monetary savings (wardrobe, cooking at home, car maintenance)
- less environmental impact
- a customizable, personality-forward office
Yet, while we see positive trends in effectiveness, output, and productivity, it’s only a matter of time before the drawbacks of isolation, static interaction, and degradation of relationships actually start to reflect a downturn in those numbers. And what’s going to happen as some team members return to work and others remain fully remote? How can you create a new homeostasis?
Continual productivity gains require connective solutions
It’s a great time to prioritize a “back-to-work plan.” Discovering solutions that connect the mix of face-to-face and remote employees. Finding opportunities to reclaim the interactive elements of a lively office. Building in daily moments of social interaction for relationship building.
You’re looking to create a buzz — literally and figuratively. The buzz of excitement when your teams learn that you’re planning for a new virtual office. The buzz of conversation as you open up more spontaneous collaboration channels. The buzz of heightened productivity in spaces that breed the best ideas and plans.
MyHive creates virtual spaces that buzz — putting your team into your office, all together.
It’s a virtual office that has the look and feel of an actual space: team pods, meeting rooms, lounge spaces, and more. MyHive reestablishes the ability to bump into someone (oh, how we have missed this), and strike up a conversation in passing. It allows for coffee breaks to become quick brainstorm sessions or timely syncs.
Think of MyHive as ‘Minecraft meets Main Street’—build what you need and want, personalize it so that your teams know it’s theirs, and enjoy it in the same ways you would your brick-and-mortar offices. Maybe you’d like to recreate the main office in the cloud. Maybe you’d like to create a wonderland that fits the vibrant personalities of your staff, or create unique spaces that aren’t available in the office but are easily achievable in a virtual office…
You really have to get inside the hive to see the unlimited potential, and that’s why we offer MyHive free for ten days.
Experience the office buzz, safe in the cloud
It’s high time for every business to watch their employees delight in ‘a day at the office.’ Creating an office in the clouds can actually emulate more closeness and build stronger cultures. Let’s use the power of technology to rebuild the good of office life and mitigate the negatives of remote work.
Counteract Zoom fatigue
Day after day of Zoom meetings has proven to be emotionally exhausting and an immensely redundant way to spend a work week. Yes, Zoom saved our hides in a time where all other options evaporated, and yes, it is a beneficial tool for meetings — but there are more options for gathering remotely.
MyHive will soon integrate with Zoom, but already contains integrated video, audio, and chat — so there’s no need to pay for Zoom if you don’t want. With a full suite of communication tools within your hive, your teams can buzz around the hive rather than hop from meeting link to messenger app and back again. You can see who is already in the room before you join.
Climb out of the Slack swamp
Rapid fire messages bombard us through Slack, all day long. Even with channel organization and the functionality Slack provides, much gets lost, not least of all quick, personal conversations. Finding the important pieces of long Slack threads can feel like trudging through a muddy swamp rather than efficient collaboration.
Chat inside the hive instead, with advanced screen-sharing included. Connect the collaborations that happen in-office, in your cloud office. Reduce your list of productivity apps by eliminating Slack and bringing the chatter back into the office.
Reclaim Your Office Buzz Now
With nothing to lose and so much to gain, give MyHive a try — it’s free for ten days. You can see exactly how a hive can benefit your employees: their morale, their collaborations and productivity, and even reclaim the joy in showing up to the hive for work each day with a renewed excitement to see — and work alongside — their team.