Remote work | Slack's UK head on employees growing closer

Slack's UK head on employees growing closer

Employees have come up against new challenges since working remotely, from getting used to communicating via tech to working alone in their homes.

But it seems despite these challenges, workers are now feeling like they have grown closer to their colleagues as a result of the new way of working.

Research commissioned by Slack has found that 53% of 2,000 adults working remotely believe that they have a better understanding of their colleagues as human beings.

43% of respondents also shared that it is now easier to connect with their colleagues than it was when they were working in the same office.

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It seems that the past 12 months have allowed employees to bond by virtually meeting their colleagues’ pets (44%) and by learning about their interests through their backgrounds on video calls (40%).

More than a third of respondents stated that informal communication has also allowed them to see more of their peers’ personalities, which has helped them get to know one another.

The study discovered that there are five key ways in total that remote working has allowed co-workers to connect:

  1. Meeting pet(s) over video calls (44%).

  2. Learning about colleagues’ interests through their background on video calls (40%).

  3. Meeting a co-worker’s partner or kids over video calls (38%).

  4. Having more opportunity to message about personal interests (37%).

  5. Informal communication has allowed employees the chance to see each other’s personalities (36%).

Investing in tech

For this to work, it has been critical for HR teams and employers to invest in the right tech to boost communication remotely. This is a notion that Stuart Templeton, Head of UK at Slack, previously told HR Grapevine in an interview, as he explained: “Investing in the right technology for remote work is an absolute necessity.”

While many businesses have been working remotely for the last year, some may be adopting a hybrid workforce where employees will work some time in the office and at home. This means that now more than ever technology will be key to this transition.

Commenting on this, Templeton advised: “Integration should be applied across a business. That means the software suite should work in harmony, as should different teams in the business. Furthermore, processes can be automated thanks to software integrations. For example, when an employee wants to request holiday, they simply make the request directly through the collaboration platform, which automatically updates the relevant app and teams.”

Empowering a workforce

With offices set to reopen later this year, Templeton shared that tech has the ability to empower a business, while also helping to continue enhancing communication as employees work either from home or a workplace.

And he stated that one way to allow this to happen is by reducing the use of email within an organisation. “Technology can also empower businesses to rethink communications around values of openness and transparency,” he said. “One way to do this is to reduce the use of email (a technology now 50 years old), which is fundamentally non-inclusive and siloes information.”

He pointed out that channel-based messaging can work successfully instead, while a simple phone call can also suffice to ensure communication is maintained between teams.

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