Despite the devastation and havoc the coronavirus has wreaked on a global scale, we can not deny the changes it has made to the workforce, and even how we work.
In particular, perhaps it was a much-needed push forward into a new age, a new decade, with new ways of standout employee engagement.
For the extroverts and the people pleasers, the last year of isolation and working from home was pure nightmare fuel. Yet for introverted workers, being able to work from home was a blessing in disguise. Maybe you consider yourself an extrovert. If so, maybe you're wondering, how could this be a blessing?
Well, for the most part, being able to work in isolation or in the home reduces the anxiety that many of us feel working in an office environment. Or maybe it’s the benefits of having access to one’s own snack vault. Or being able to wear more casual, comfortable clothes. Or having your furry four-legged coworker offer lap warmth and cuddle support at 2 p.m. on a Monday. It could be all of the above.
The last couple years have been a nightmare for many of us. But when we look past that and see between the storm clouds, there’s a new dawn emerging for your company and its employees.
The State of Employee Engagement Today
It would be unfair to say employee engagement has changed over the last year only because of COVID. Rather, we need to consider additional, and different, variables. This changing work environment is unlocking new opportunities for workers.
Google reports online commerce reached a new peak in 2020, showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Despite all the harm COVID has done, we can study how it has benefited us, such as launching tech trends nearly half a decade ahead of predictions. Things like virtual meetings, digital live events, VR product experiences, advanced AI and UX/UI are now commonplace for workers.
This isn’t something incredibly shocking though, considering the human race has made more technological advancements in the last 50 years than in the previous 20,000 years combined.
And this is more than relevant for the modern day company and how they are constantly having to evolve and adapt to new technologies. A virtual meeting isn’t something that would've been anyone’s prediction as a norm prior to 2020.
Let’s explore this further.
Say we took someone from the second century B.C. (200 B.C.) and we dropped them in the 14th century A.D. (between the years of 1301-1400). They would adapt pretty quickly despite the 1,500-year gap.
Hypothetically, if we were to do the same to someone from the year 1970 and drop them in 2022, they’re going to have a nervous breakdown. Imagine the average office employee from the ’70s trying to use Google Slides. I’m assuming they’d probably even struggle performing simple tasks like sending an email or copying and pasting. The point is that positive employee engagement often correlates to the positive growth of technology within your industry.
Scientists conclude technology has advanced far faster than our brains or our emotions can naturally adapt. There is so much to explore when it comes to progress in this new age of the workforce and what this means for employee engagement.
Evolution of Work for Today’s Employees
So, how has the work environment evolved in the face of an ongoing pandemic and the challenges we’ve all faced in the last year? How can you use the evolution of work to engage and motivate employees (and your customers)?
Flexible work and workspaces:
Employees have proven work can be done at the office and/or at home. The traditional five-day week and 9-to-5 work schedule is no longer the office standard. Many companies are adopting four-day weeks, with 8-to-6 work schedules, which allow for either Mondays or Fridays off to give employees a three-day weekend. Employees appreciate the options and flexibility, with many responding with higher engagement at work
Cohesive device compatibility for the mobile office:
No longer is work limited to conference rooms and offices. It’s wherever and whenever the employee can best deliver on company goals. Work life has become mobile. Work is no longer desktops and in-person meetings, but rather adaptive to mobile devices, laptops, and even virtual meetings. The office has become the moments and locations where the employee can work best.
Work and life balance:
It’s no longer about climbing the ladder and putting every ounce of yourself into your work. Because at the end of the day, passion is what new standout employees crave, not just a paycheck. With greater work/life balance flexibility, it allows workers to focus their passion, rather than participating in the traditional corporate climb for a bigger paycheck.
Adapting to the New Normal
Once again, collaboration technologies play a crucial role as they give any employee within an organization the chance to be a recognized leader by sharing their ideas, thoughts, concepts and more. Which was not possible before, especially not at the scale collaboration platforms are allowing and evolving towards today.
The equation is simple — when both work-life balance and the particular values of work are aligned, engagement grows. And when work-life balance is respected, the quality of work is respected as well.
Work has changed. Modern companies need to seek those opportunities and increase engagement, especially when hiring the best talent.
Performance in the New Norm
The old ways of the employee lifestyle seem like an anomaly compared to where we stand today. Maybe it’s time to realize that blurred and integrated work life is the new norm. It’s no longer about hiring who works for you but who chooses to work for you.
The age of COVID has redefined what “employee engagement” means. Employees are just human beings with ideas, passions, fears, relationships and solutions. Employees can be engaged even when they are working on the couch in their pajamas. You can’t just rely on happy hour or office games to keep employees engaged. You’ll need new strategies, new tactics and new technologies to keep employees engaged.
The world of work is evolving at a constant and rapid pace.
In today’s competitive talent market, businesses must differentiate themselves. Research shows companies putting people, culture and engagement first have a greater ability to attract and retain the best talent.
At GO2 Partners, we’re helping companies increase engagement, and these companies see the results of positive engagement through the quality of employee work. Through tactics such as “Work From Home” kits, or delivering world-class employee training, our effective strategies drive solutions and build engagement.
More times than not, successful employee engagement stems from innovation. Workplaces which allow employees to practice and perform within the new norms see the results of standout engagement.
While some may argue this new work model is attracting workers who are “entitled” or “lazy,” the truth is, the new engagement model doesn’t support lazy, entitled or egotistical behavior; because standout companies have passion, have morals and, most importantly, they have each other.
If you’re looking to activate and enable your workforce by driving enthusiastic adoption of products, technology and processes for impact across the board, don’t hesitate to connect with us on our platforms and check out more blogs.
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