To treasure something, sometimes you have to lose it first. That’s what happens with social interaction in our lives. With the pandemic still going on, we still can’t fully embrace our social lives and our social interactions remain limited to this day.
We’re facing the same problem in our jobs as well. No more little chit-chat, lunch breaks, or coffee meetings in the office we can enjoy.
Staying away from our colleagues made it difficult for us to sustain a healthy social life in the work environment and it definitely had a huge impact on our relationship with the work.
Social Relationships During Pandemic
During the pandemic, several options have spawned to get ahead of the lack of social interactions between coworkers. Video conferencing has become the most prominent tool for businesses to ensure that there’s a healthy level of interaction between their employees.
However, in the long run, there should be additional steps to take for further social interaction between employees because how people perceive working has greatly changed over two years.
People don’t conceive of work in the traditional sense of office anymore. Since the pandemic has forced most of us to continue working at home; the cozy, flexible, and comfortable aspects of home and the dedicated, productive, and serious nature of work have intertwined during the process. Now employees need working conditions where they can find the flexibility of working remotely.
On the other hand, how the future of work will be is still a blurry subject. Up to the pandemic, working harder and spending hours in the office were key performance indicators for most of companies. However, over the course of two years, what’s being valued has shifted towards working smarter and being creative.
So, the future of work bears several points to be taken care of. The new era of working will be a combination of remote work culture and in-person social interactions. That leaves employers with challenging tasks as they will be required to provide workspaces in accord.
As tech industry leaders have announced a return to the office to some degree, businesses need to reconsider the importance of social interaction when setting up their new rules for working.
Hybrid Working For Socialization
For companies that are returning to the office or taking the hybrid road, redesigning the office should be a nice place to start. In the old mindset, the goal was to build an office for employees where they can work; however, it didn’t involve the emotional aspects of people. After a two-year time skip, no one’s going to be happy by returning to the same old system.
The new design of the offices should be focusing on collaboration and happiness of employees. Although in the traditional office environment, there wasn’t a solid obstacle against social interactions between employees, it wasn’t motivating as well.
Therefore, in the future of workplaces, companies should pay attention to creating a lively and open environment.
The goal shouldn’t be building a separate place for each employee. Instead, there should be collaborative places designed to allow employees to have social interactions while working.
It’s important to provide a flexible office environment because people will prefer a more liberal touch to their work life.
With shared workspaces, employees can develop their social interactions with their colleagues, which is a huge part of the corporate culture and can work easily in teams.
It’s not all about the design of the workplace on the other hand. Although there will be companies with hybrid or full office models, remote work will also take up a big space in the business world.
So what can companies do to ensure sufficient social interactions between their employees, if they’re taking the remote work route towards the future of work?
The answer is changing the overall mindset. Instead of constructing your company’s workspace, be it remote or in the office, you should approach it as curating an experience. It’s not going to be “work, work, work” anymore. Working in your company should be perceived as an experience by your employees.
To curate an experience for your company, the process of work should be reinforced with improved social interactions between employers. There are many opportunities to organize social events online and there is, even more, to be done in the real world.
For example, insert a mini café inside of your office so that your employees can work and socialize at the same time; or hold online “coffee and work” sessions to enhance your employees’ overall experience of working in your company.
There should be a purpose in gathering your people. And the purpose doesn’t necessarily mean a greater impact on society or the world. It can even be something minimal but impactful for your company.
The key here is creating meaning for your employees to come together so that they can create their own experiences.
The future of work remains heavily unexplained for now, but one thing’s for sure. It’s not going to be the same. Remote work is here to stay and remote culture needs to be incorporated into offices as well. Creating a flexible and motivating environment for your employees will allow them to collaborate and improve in teamwork.
The way you manage social interactions in your company will be the way your company achieves further in the business world.