What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘connectivity?’
For many, it means the Internet, switches, routers, and networks—the traditional concept of connectivity. As we work remotely, technological connectivity is essential to helping employees work more effectively and continuing business operations. But in the time of COVID-19, we have discovered that technological connectivity plays another equally important role—enabling human connectivity.
We were made to connect!
COVID-19 has shown us just how important the human element of connectivity is to our well-being. Indeed, since March, we have been inundated with article after article touting the importance of ‘staying connected’ and ‘reaching out.’ In response, many of us have connected with our family and friends through online happy hours or socially distanced backyard visits.
What is the role of human connection in a business setting? Does it even matter? Some argue that the need for human connectivity doesn’t apply in the business world. But for many, the workplace is not just a place of business—it is where they find good friendships and form connections. These important work relationships can help employees develop a sense of social connection and can contribute positively to their happiness and health. The sudden switch to remote work may make these employees feel disconnected, isolated, and alone. it.
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In hindsight, it feels like it was an incredible luxury to gather in a conference room, joke, laugh, catch up, and write on a white board rather than meeting virtually with participants struggling to hear or interrupting one another. With COVID, we are starting to understand the inherent value of being able to see the face and body language of those with whom you are meeting. COVID has made us more appreciative of our human connection.
Indeed, in an analysis of its remote workforce due to the COVID shutdowns, Microsoft found that despite feeling overloaded and burnt out by meeting fatigue, employees increased their one-on-one, work-focused meetings by 18% and work social meetings by 10%—seemingly finding a way to substitute for the in-person lunches and happy hours which are now impossible. Both statistics indicate that employees want to feel a human connection in the work setting. How do we find human connection with our colleagues in the time of COVID when we can no longer joke with them in the break room, catch up over lunch, or enjoy a Friday afternoon happy hour at our favorite watering hole? And how do we even define good human connectivity in business and what are its advantages? What tools can we use to make it possible?
At Logic Speak, the experiences of our clients have shown that the organizations who are most connected—who use technological connectivity tools to enable human connectivity—have been able to most effectively continue their operations during the COVID shutdowns. Connectivity provides ways for employees to engage with their coworkers socially, helping to keep them from feeling isolated and alone. Feeling a sense of connection to co-workers also provides an intrinsic motivation to get work done and do it well. And it enables businesses to operate more efficiently and workers to be more productive. Imagine the difference between trying to plan and execute a product launch using only email versus gathering virtually with a comprehensive tool that allows you to see one another and white board as if you were all in the same room. There is no question that “face-to-face” online collaboration, made possible by connectivity, will provide the superior result.
Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams include several tools that can greatly improve your employees’ ability to engage with one another. The Microsoft Teams platform incorporates instant messaging (in chat rooms and between individuals), audio and video calling, rich online meetings, mobile experiences, extensive web conferencing capabilities, file storage, tool integration, and more.
For example, Microsoft Teams provides secure, reliable, easy-to-access online meetings that make you feel like you are in the same room with your co-workers. You can even join these meetings on the fly from a Microsoft one-on-one or group chat. Online meetings are not limited to those within your organization. You can also include partners and customers, who join simply by clicking on a link from the invite you send them. Included in these online meetings is Microsoft Whiteboard, which allows you to use a whiteboard just as you would in a physical meeting. When your meeting ends, there is no reason to transcribe the whiteboard or take a photo of it—whiteboards can be saved in the cloud, where they can be accessed by any of your team members.
Logic Speak provides many solutions to help solve your human connectivity challenges. Investing in tools to enable human connectivity can benefit your organization both during and beyond the COVID-19 shutdowns. The boundaries of “the office” have been disintegrating for years as employees work from home, reside in different states or countries, or spend a lot of time traveling for business. Our solutions enable your employees to connect no matter where they are. We can help you find the right tools—based on the specific needs of your business—and keep them up and running so your employees and your business are always connected.