Do you feel like working from home is “just not the same” as being in the office? Are you missing your co-workers, water cooler talks, and even company announcements? You’re not alone.
The COVID-19 pandemic unexpectedly accelerated many of the forecasted “Future of Work” trends, like working from home (WFH), changing the day-to-day behaviours and schedules for millions of employees. Although mandated for an excellent reason – employees’ health and safety – the effects of remote work have been challenging for companies.
While many organisations were able to adapt and provide employees with the infrastructure they need to do their jobs, something critical is still missing – and that’s a sense of community.
At their core, most companies are comprised of a community of people that work together for a common purpose. Communities are essential for fostering personal and professional growth and providing support. Some of the most well-known and successful companies owe their success to a strong and loyal sense of corporate community.
Community platforms, like Verint Community, are often thought of as customer engagement tools, helping brands build more direct connections with customers. Savvy business leaders, however, are increasingly using this technology internally to keep employees connected, share company information, and even add a little fun to the workplace with competitions, games, and prizes.
If you think that your company may be missing a sense of community, here are five reasons why you should consider an online community platform:
Assist the People Who Will Work Remotely Permanently
While some companies are temporarily shifting to WFH operations, many are making it a permanent change. As homes turn into workspaces, employees are leaving metropolitan cities in droves for more space and cost savings in the suburbs. In fact, “home searches in suburban zip codes jumped 13 percent,” according to realtor.com.
We’ll likely see the WFH trend continue to grow, so having a centralised community platform to provide employees with easy access to company information, no matter their location or time zone, will be essential.
Build and Reinforce Company Culture
At the launch of a startup, creating a robust, energised company culture might feel relatively easy. But sustaining that enthusiasm over time is much more complicated – particularly with a disparate workforce.
Online community platforms can make it easier for companies – startups or otherwise – to reinforce their brand and share their values through community blogs and discussion forums. Plus, companies that have invested time and resources into fostering their company culture often have an easier time recruiting and retaining talent.
Help Minimise Organisational Silos
Community platforms and forums are some of the best tools for cross-collaboration. With Verint Community features such as “Question and Answer Forums” and “Ideation” to crowdsource and solicit feedback, employees can cross collaborate to provide support, inspire ideas, and grow with each other.
Foster Employee Well-Being
The pandemic is taking its toll on the workforce. According to a Telus International survey, “75 percent of U.S. employees have struggled at work due to anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other recent world events.” Fortunately, many companies are prioritising employee health and partnering with wellness organisations to offer counselling and other mental health benefits to their employees.
Yet, due to mental health stigmas, some employees may feel afraid or embarrassed to reach out to a team member. Online communities can provide companies with the ability to share company wellness information while allowing employees to get the information they need at their own comfort level. This not only provides employees with essential support but also fosters trust and security within the organisation.
Help Address the Uncertainty That Remains
No one could have predicted that 2020 would bring a global pandemic—and that one year later, many office doors would remain shut. The truth is, we can only guess when the workplace will return to normal.
In the meantime, companies should consider digital online communities within their organisations as an effective way to foster the sense of corporate community they worked hard to build, before it’s gone for good.
To see how one company is leveraging Verint Community successfully, check out this video.