When the global pandemic started early in 2020, non-essential businesses were shut down and those deemed "essential" had to adapt quickly to something that would eventually be referred to as "the new norm." Many workers were furloughed and countless others were displaced from the office to start working from home. (insert dog barking in the background here)
THE IMPORTANCE OF IN-PERSON COLLABORATION
Early in the pandemic, articles were published about companies discovering efficiencies and effectiveness in their work from home strategies. Some articles suggested work from home would be largely adopted even after the pandemic was over. But only a few months later, the tone of those articles seemed to change as we started to see the impact of less in-person collaboration. Reports started to suggest that workers were looking forward to returning to the office to regain that social interaction. Talking to your dog just isn't the same.
Regardless of where you stand on the work from home debate, one thing is blatantly clear... Communication and socialization between coworkers and within departments is important to employees. Video conferencing, as efficient as it is, just isn't the same as meeting together in a conference room or stopping by a coworker's desk to chat about the weekend. It's called relationship building.
CONNECTION THROUGH COMMUNICATION
This got me to thinking... When talking about communications systems, emergency situations are usually the focus. But communications systems can also be used to improve daily operations, keep people connected, and build relationships between colleagues. And systems that are capable of connecting on-premise workers with remote workers are even more effective.
Depending on how they are used, communication initiatives can improve employee motivation and company culture as well. People who work remotely (pre and post pandemic) often feel disconnected because they aren't included in luncheons, wear your favorite team jersey day, and other office activities. Off-premise communications to remote workers, via text, email, desktop alerts, or push notifications can remind them about staff meetings, include links to additional info, or just be simple, fun messages to keep workers encouraged, motivated, and feeling connected.