The recent Zoom Boom has fundamentally changed the way we work. In 2020, the number of Americans working from home has increased from 20% to 71%, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.
While remote work might have its advantages, it does have significant downsides too, such as the weakening of organizational connections, a key component in productivity. The previously mentioned study reveals that younger remote workers find it difficult to feel motivated at work since they feel disconnected from their peers.
These findings are worrying as demotivation and feelings of being disconnected can have significant effects on an employee’s productivity. As we slowly move back to our offices, here are some tips on how leaders can effectively strengthen those connections that might have weakened due to remote work.
Having a sense of purpose is important in keeping up one’s enthusiasm and motivation. After all, you’re more likely to do something if you know the reason behind it. This principle applies to one’s work, too. A study by McKinsey & Company revealed that employees who find purpose in their work have four times higher engagement and five times higher well-being rates compared to those who did not.
As such, it is of great value for team leaders to emphasize the purpose of their team members’ work. It would also help if leaders take time to have meaningful conversations with their employees regarding this purpose, as this gives employees a chance to reflect on their role in the company.
Team building activities are an essential part of a cohesive and productive workplace. A study by the University of Central Florida shows that team building activities, when done correctly, have a positive impact on goal setting, interpersonal relations, problem-solving, and role clarification. As such, it is imperative for team leaders to allot some work time for team building activities.
Team building activities do not have to be tedious and time consuming, but they do need to be effective enough to strengthen the connection between people from an organization. One way to do this is to group team members randomly using a random team generator. When team members are randomly grouped, there are higher chances to build new friendships within your workplace.
After forming teams, initiate some simple get-to-know-you activities. One simple activity you can do is a silent line up, where you give the teams some time to talk to each other. Then, ask them to form a line according to various orders, such as height, tenure in the office, or birthday as a fun way to learn something new about each team member.
Gratitude Goes a Long Way
Gratitude in the workplace is still a rare thing. A study done by John Templeton Foundation reveals that out of 2,000 American workers, 60% said they never express gratitude at work, or do so only once to twice a year. Rare as it is, gratitude does have clear benefits: it fosters trust, increases resilience to stress, and improves overall productivity.
To reap these benefits, leaders should take initiative in saying thanks. Non-monetary thank you gifts, such as a free parking spot or a half-day off, are particularly effective, especially when they are specific and personal. Name the person you are thanking, and let them know why your company is grateful to have them in your team.
These three things are essential in developing a strong bond between you and your team members, as well as between your team members themselves. It is important for leaders to remember that a productive team is one that is purpose-driven, cohesive, and grateful.