13 September 2023
Working in a world where hybrid is the new norm has changed company culture for good. Today, digital transformation is an inherent part of every organisation’s strategic goal, and even more so in the telecoms space. To stay ahead of the curve, we need to embrace these technologies. But we should not overlook the wellbeing of our workforce when doing so.
Instead, we turn to a culture of connectedness: leveraging gigabit connections to be more inclusive. But how can we apply this in practice?
1. Understand the various methods of communication
When we talk about communication from a tech perspective, we might consider video conferencing or project management tools. But from a human resources perspective, communication in the workplace is not just about what we say.
In fact, according to the Mehrabian model, 93% of what we communicate is non-verbal. What we say goes far beyond what we say – instead, we communicate with our tone of voice, volume, facial expressions, and stance. Body language is an essential in getting meaning across, and this can often be lost in Zoom or Teams calls.
Hybrid working environments should encourage in-person teams to chat face-to-face. There is little sense having staff come to the office only to spend all day on Microsoft Teams. Moments like watercooler chats will see marked improvements in confidence and general social skills.
2. Acknowledge the differing needs of teams
The post-pandemic workplace is more flexible than ever before. As a result, our employees’ needs, or indeed demands, have changed. Remote working is no longer a luxury but a necessity for some – but it’s important not to tar everybody with the same brush.
For example, a study by Joblist revealed that just 27% of Generation Zs want to work fully remotely. By comparison, almost half (49%) of Millennials preferred this option. As managers, we should take the time to sit down with these individuals and ask them what would make them most productive – allowing for trial and error.
3. Make sure every stakeholder feels valued
A culture of connectedness should not be limited to internal teams alone. It’s important to consider every stakeholder in our day-to-day operations. In particular, those in the altnet space are feeling isolated and anxious right now. The geopolitical climate and cost-of-living crisis is causing them to lose confidence.
As partners, we should maintain communication streams with our suppliers and other stakeholders to boost morale. Not only will this improve morale internally; it will also align with the overall strategic goals of the business.
4. Manage expectations of flexible working models
Never has the pace of digital transformation been as fast as it is in a post-pandemic world. Today, we have a full suite of video conferencing tools at our disposal. Coupled with sophisticated cyber security software, we’re able to meet workers’ hybrid and remote needs without compromise.
However, while our operations may be more flexible and secure, they also need to be realistic. For example, today’s workplace is far more likely to include international workers. This can be a massive boon for business – one study showed that 72% of those in a distributed international workforce felt more productive.
It also poses more challenges. As managers, we need to consider time zones, work deadlines, meeting scheduling and device management. A technical review of all remote devices and internet connections will also ensure we’re using technology to its full potential. Finance teams need to consider training and funding remote working practices, collaborating with HR managers in the hiring process.
5. Consider the strategic future of the organisation
While technology has afforded us gigabit connectivity, we need to make sure that always connected is not synonymous with overworked. The new hybrid working model has opened up many more considerations for managers, for example – are teams more productive when working at home? Are there cost savings to outsourcing work internationally? Are we making sure employees are engaged when they’re not in the office?
A strong working culture comes from an employee-first mindset, and we cannot achieve this without communication. Managers need to consider everybody’s views, regardless of their seniority or job role. We should encourage regular check-ins and accommodate people’s in-office versus remote needs to push the business forward.
The C-suite doesn’t have all the answers, and it would be remiss to think it does. Instead, a progressive organisation is powered by a diverse range of opinions – pushing up productivity and leveraging technology for success.