New challenges emerge in the remote era
It has been nearly one year since the COVID-19 pandemic set a mass work from home experiment into motion and the results are in. When it comes to efficiency in particular, remote work has been a widespread success. 94% of employers noted that productivity was the same or higher than it was before the pandemic’s onset.
However, output doesn’t tell the entire story. While remote work has improved productivity, serious employee experience gaps have also emerged. Workplace engagement levels have taken a hit over the past few months, dropping to an all-time low, with 54% of employees disengaged and 14% actively disengaged. Remote leadership is also proving challenging, with 40% of managers noting that they don’t feel confident in their ability to manage and collaborate with their virtual team.
Given that experts predict a 300% rise in telecommuting compared to pre-pandemic levels, the employee experience gaps caused by remote work are more than just a blip on the radar. Tomorrow’s experiential enterprises will be the organizations that solve the engagement challenges happening today. But with much of their workforce remote, what can leaders do now to improve employee experience for a better future?
Turning to digital technology to bridge gaps
When employees first made the transition from the cubicle to the home office, organizations scrambled to ensure their technology solutions could facilitate remote work. Nearly 70% of respondents agree that C-level executives began to express more involvement in the digital workplace since COVID-19.
As the center of digital workplaces, intranets have played a crucial role as employees transition and adapt to working from home. Our own data illustrates just how heavily leaders relied on their platforms to keep employees connected and updated throughout the pandemic. Articles that mentioned COVID-19 were viewed over 3.1m times in 2020 with an additional 722k views for wellbeing content. Employees also looked to their intranet for support during their transition to telecommuting, with more than 450k searches for training and remote work guidance.
"Most employees will have their day-to-day tools, like computer-aided design if you’re an engineer for example, but for anything else—claiming expenses, booking travel, booking meeting rooms—where do you go? Today’s intranet is your starting point."
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The rise of the digital HQ
There may have been a time when digital workplace investments were overlooked in favor of physical amenities. Leaders might have opted to build an on-campus wellness center or another conference room, instead of budgeting for workplace technology.
Then, virtually overnight, the pandemic shook up corporate priorities and flipped the idea of an office headquarters upside down. In the new world of work, the flagship office has gone digital, with your intranet slated to take on the role that your traditional headquarters once played.
Your new digital HQ has several distinct advantages over its brick and mortar predecessor. It is agile and all-inclusive so that your workforce can access it anytime and anywhere. It also helps you save on real estate costs while supporting the hybridized blend of remote and office working that the majority of employees look favorably towards.
3 building blocks for your digital headquarters
Your intranet software served as the backbone throughout your transition to remote work and now it is slated to become your next corporate headquarters. But is your solution ready to serve as the common thread that unites your workforce under a seamless, integrated experience? There are three components to a successful digital headquarters, which include:
The benefits of a compelling culture are well-documented. Companies that proactively manage their culture enjoy 516% higher revenue rates and two thirds of consumers consider employee welfare and workplace environment as factors during their purchasing decisions.
Unfortunately, many enterprises are struggling to recreate their culture in the digital-first age. More than half of employees are having difficulty connecting to their company’s culture and their colleagues. Over time, this can pose a serious threat to both engagement and output levels, given the demonstrated link between culture and productivity.
When it comes to building your culture in your new digital headquarters, let your mission statement and values play a guiding role. 9 out of 10 workers value purpose so much they would be willing to trade a percentage of their lifetime earnings for greater meaning at work. Leverage your intranet’s social networking capabilities and discussions forums to create a shared sense of purpose. Take it a step further by announcing volunteer initiatives that will give your employees the chance to come together to make a difference, regardless of where they are based.
How to fuel a positive culture for remote workers
Learn how to create a compelling culture for your remote workforce by taking advantage of social features and emphasizing your mission and values.
With remote work on the rise, leaders are increasingly prioritizing cloud-based solutions that employees can access anywhere. 40% of enterprises expedited their move to the cloud in response to COVID-19 and workplace dispersion. While cloud-based intranet apps are certainly a step in the right direction, leaders who are looking to see the biggest productivity gains must also consider how these tools come together.
The average employee switches applications more than 1.1k times daily, which can quickly eat away at efficiency. An intranet with a robust integrations framework allows you to bring together disparate systems in one, intuitive user experience.
By leveraging your new digital headquarters to create a single pane of glass view, you can minimize the need for constant platform switching and empower your employees to reach peak productivity. From Microsoft 365 to Google Workspace, maximize your existing cloud investments by using your intranet to bring together various workloads and put information into context.
There’s no doubt that focusing on workplace experience pays off. Going the extra mile for your employees is linked with turnover rates that are nearly 60% lower and a 10% boost in customer satisfaction. But what does it take to enhance employee experience in the work-from-anywhere era?
Your employees no longer care about free snacks or sprawling recreation centers. Instead, it is your new digital headquarters that must be renovated if you’re looking to improve employee experience. All too often, there is a disconnect between how leaders view workplace technology versus what employees think of it. Although 90% of C-suite executives believe their company pays attention to their people’s technological needs, just 53% of staff agrees.
Building a compelling experience starts by understanding exactly what your users are looking for in their digital headquarters. Instead of making assumptions, take advantage of two-way comms channels like feedback forms and pulse surveys for in-depth insight into the changes your workforce hopes to see.
Are you ready to launch your new digital headquarters?
In the new world of work, your digital headquarters will become the central point for interaction between corporate culture and technology. If you’re looking to launch a next-gen intranet to serve as the hub where ideas and values are exchanged, sign up for our 2021 Intranet Masterclass which is dedicated to exploring the digital HQ.