Your Teams Are Returning to Work: Now What?
Strengthen Culture, Productivity and Collaboration with an Employee Digital Workspace
The necessity of social distancing forced companies around the world to adopt remote working policies that were frequently unfamiliar within their organizations. But even as work locations shifted from the office to home, employees desired collaboration and businesses sought continuity. People throughout every organization were striving to cultivate connectedness.
While working from home is not new, having to go suddenly virtual caught many companies off guard. Whether you made it unscathed through this first burst of change or struggled to adjust to remote working, it’s time to acknowledge that you need an active, contemporary business continuity plan that includes virtual collaboration, communication and connectedness to be ready for an uncertain future.
The adaptability of work location is the new reality that modern companies must be prepared for in order to survive.
The companies that continue to thrive right now are those that have virtual capabilities already ingrained in their culture. For everyone else, it is essential to address remote workforce enablement quickly, with the flexibility to extend capabilities over time. The easiest and most efficient way to build this type of work environment is to implement an employee community that serves as the organization’s primary source of interaction.
At 7Summits, we’re experts at creating and strengthening workplace culture through these digital workspaces. In fact, we’ve developed an Employee Digital Workspace Lightning Bolt for Salesforce Community Cloud specifically designed to serve the needs of virtual workers. The components packaged in this solution are fundamental to maintaining a collaborative work environment, regardless of where colleagues are located.
While challenges may arise when trying to virtually enable communication, collaboration, and human connection within your workforce, leveraging a digital workspace to create a strong employee experience helps overcome these issues and drive value. You’ll realize immediate benefits as you restart your business, and prepare your organization for whatever uncertainties lie ahead.
Here’s how our Employee Digital Workplace can help you:
Avoid Communication Overload & Miscommunication
Maintaining official, effective communication with your employees when you’re not in the same space is often difficult if it’s not a practice your company is used to. Blast emails and more traditional location-based communication tools are currently ineffective and don’t scale to address the sheer volume of information requested by your teams. Repeatedly sending emails can lead your employees to simply tune these communications out, resulting in leadership and employees not being aligned.
Providing your employees with a workspace that serves as an authoritative source of communications truth minimizes confusion and maximizes reach. Transparent communication and information sharing outside the traditional siloed approach of email has been shown to dramatically improve productivity. Information becomes searchable, findable and referenceable.
Provide Regular Corporate Communications
When working remotely your people are likely seeking more information than they required in their traditional work situations. Leaders are being asked to provide a consistent cadence of communication about company policies, status updates, and much more.
In the 7Summits Digital Workspace Bolt, features like News, Announcements and Events enable your organization to quickly and concisely direct employees to the most actionable information.
Give Users a Source of Truth
Channels like Slack are great for encouraging both personal and work-related conversations that provide vibrant interactions for your employees. But the real-time nature of these workspaces means that they can become cluttered with irrelevant, albeit entertaining, discussions. It is also worth noting that if you’re on a free version of many tools, you are facilitating conversation, but not preserving the knowledge for future reference. Your core employee community cuts through the noise and retains the collective consciousness, while presenting the opportunity to communicate on a more personal level.
Within a digital workspace, leaders can segment community members into Groups and post updates and documents solely for their respective teams. This ensures that everyone in your organization has access to the information, tools and individuals most pertinent to their success.
Facilitate Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing
Working in new surroundings puts a strain on the ability of teams (and the company as a whole) to collaborate. While working from home may deny some of the benefits of in-person discussions, employee communities ensure that collaboration remains strong, regardless of how disparate people are.
Enable Employees to Locate and Collaborate with One Another
When your people are forced to work remotely, one of the biggest things that requires adjusting to is the inability to simply walk over to a colleague to collaborate. A digital workplace lets you build in a Member Directory, streamlining the process of locating a co-worker’s information or subject matter experts in your organization. If your people need to get in touch with their colleagues, now without the luxury of face-to-face interactions, user profiles help employees find the appropriate contact information to engage directly with their colleagues.
Facilitate Discussions and Public & Private Conversations
Just because meetings and brainstorming sessions can’t be held in person doesn’t mean your organization needs to suffer a decline in collaboration. Communities built on Salesforce give you the ability to facilitate virtual discussions using features like Chatter.
Working sessions can be held among an entire team, or within private conversations. Your employees can also post questions directly to solicit feedback and responses from colleagues, letting them crowdsource answers in a collaborative space.
Provide Feedback Channels to Encourage Ideation
Working from home is unfamiliar for many, maybe all, of your people. While there are best practices to help ease the transition, hearing directly from your people will help you create a positive experience that translates to business continuity for your company. Digital workspaces unlock many feedback channels that let you capture, listen and take action based on the suggestions of your employees.
Apps like 7Summits Ideas help you crowdsource, listen and respond to your people. Unleash your employees to influence the next evolution of your digital workplace, enabling their voices to be heard while enabling others to vote and interact with the submissions they like best.
Support HR and Departments by Consolidating Resources
Your people need information and guidance, but the best use of your departmental and HR leaders is not triaging simple questions over and over. Publishing landing pages in your digital workspace lets you build a repository where employees can leverage self-service to easily access the knowledge they need. You can also publicly respond to questions, letting users benefit from seeing your company’s official answer and preventing them from needing to ask the same question again.
And HR is just one example. Your company can quickly identify which areas of your business would most benefit from a one-stop location for questions and answers and configure your digital workspace to match those needs.
Maintaining Connection and Reinforcing Culture
Suddenly leaving an office environment leaves employees wanting for human interaction. What’s more, you’ve spent years fostering a company culture that you’re understandably worried might crack as employees work in isolation. A community-based workspace ensures that your company is able to keep in close connection, albeit digitally.
Preserve A Sense of Fun
With the social isolation working from home brings, it is more important than ever to maintain some of the fun elements that your organization encourages. Virtual happy hours let people share personal conversations in a setting that’s more laid back than meetings, and opportunities for friendly competition can be built directly into your community. Systems can be implemented that reward employees with points and badges to be redeemed for prizes, encouraging them to continue fostering connections with colleagues.
Apps like 7Summits Leaderboard Plus allow you to use gamification like badges and skill endorsements to creatively recognize and celebrate the employees who are actively engaging in your community and embodying your culture.
Retain Your Company Brand & Culture Representation
While branding is likely the furthest thing from your mind right now, it will become more important as the heavy veil of crisis abates. A digital workspace provides ample opportunities to reinforce your brand identity and determine how your company culture is represented.
Included in the Employee Digital Workspace Bolt are a variety of tools that allow you to brand the look and feel of your community, while not losing function in the effort to impact form. From simple things like adding your logo and brand palette to more robust functionalities like the Image and Video Galleries that let you feature your people and their work product across the experience. Also included, social media feeds and RSS/JSON readers let you integrate content and visuals from your external sources like your website into your digital experience.
Encourage Activation of Your Community
Up to this point we’ve outlined all the ways that your people could benefit from having a digital workspace. But let’s not pretend it is an “if you build it they will come” scenario. Activation of your community is as important as the planning of it.
Included with the Digital Workspace Bolt is an onboarding flow that helps boost engagement and adoption of your new community, providing a guided step-by-step process to help users personalize their experience. Based on the topics and groups they opt into, your employees will be served customized content and notifications that pertain to their respective roles, preferences and interests.
Regardless of circumstance, we live in a multi-screen and multi-device world. Your employees need access to communication and collaboration across any device at any time, whether they are sitting at a desk or on the move.
A digital workspace can be easily accessed across smartphones (Apple or Android), tablets, desktops, PCs and Macs.
Choosing to Communicate, Collaborate and Connect
It’s not easy for your employees to feel connected, informed, productive and a part of the culture when they’re literally working miles apart. But true to their name, Communities help you reinforce the sense of togetherness that your company needs now, and will serve you into the future.
The Employee Digital Workspace Lightning Bolt has bundled all of the components necessary to maintain a connected culture and ensure productivity and business continuity no matter what happens in the future. As companies adapt to new ways of working, having an innovative solution that evolves with changing market conditions will help facilitate lasting success. Contact 7Summits today to take the next steps for implementing this Lightning Bolt as your community solution.