The role of technology in promoting workplace happiness
14 July 2021
Covid-19 has given us an opportunity to pause and hit reset on many working practices that were not wholly effective. It presents organisations and employees with an opportunity to consider the working environment they want to work in, and technology will undoubtably play an integral role in achieving this and embedding workplace happiness.
Technology in the workplace
Technology was the facilitator enabling entire businesses to transform their workforce into remote operations overnight. It allowed office workers to maintain high levels of productivity and keep organisations operating. However, as time went on and the line between personal and work life began to blur, employees started to connect this ‘always available’ culture with increasing detriment to their wellbeing.
So, although technology is partly to blame for adversely impacting wellbeing, it is also a key part of the holistic solution.
This blog examines the different ways technology can help shape future working environments that are centred around employee wellbeing, and in turn, productivity.
Hybrid and flexible working
‘Hybrid working’ and ‘flexible working’ are terms that have been bandied about in relation to the future workforce. There are many ways to make hybrid working work for you, and the mounting evidence demonstrates this is both increasingly in demand and an effective working style for elevated productivity and wellbeing.
Recent Gartner survey data from over 4,000 employees showed:
- 39% are likely to quit if their company insists on a ‘hard return’ to a fully on-site experience
- 55% reported that their ability to work flexibly will be a significant decider on whether they stay with their employer
- Among employees who are currently working remotely or in a hybrid arrangement:
- 75% say their expectations for working flexibly have increased.
- Only 4% would prefer to work on-site full time.
Not only is this working style in high demand, but the evidence is also increasingly clear that it can have a real benefit on employee performance and wellbeing:
- Employees are 3 times more likely to be high performers when given flexibility over where, when, and how they work
- Hybrid teams are most likely to show higher levels of inclusion (fully on-site teams are least likely)
- Hybrid teams show greater agility, psychological safety, and equity than on-site teams:
- 70% of hybrid employees agreed they adapt the structure of their meetings based on the intended outcome versus only 49% of on-site employees
- 66% of hybrid employees reported feeling comfortable taking risks in their role compared to 47% of their on-site counterparts
- 67% of hybrid employees agreed their team is skilled at working asynchronously compared with 56% of on-site employees.
However, adopting this working style should be considered thoughtfully so as not to exacerbate experiences of burnout associated with technology. Moving forward, business leaders should seek to prioritise wellbeing in real ways. This will include creating a culture wherein breaks are respected and encouraged, working longer hours is not the norm, and employees are equipped with the knowledge and skills to protect their own wellbeing.
Leverage digital tools to keep employees connected
Despite fears that remote working leads to isolated working practices, hybrid working environments actually allow for more options for when, where and how to collaborate than in the office, but it requires leaders to intentionally create these opportunities.
This will involve utilising appropriate digital tools to enable secure and effective collaboration wherever your teams are based. However, managers should be wary of overreliance on synchronous modes of working, as this can adversely impact employee health. Asynchronous work modes are just as important to achieving innovation, so this needs to be rebalanced. This rebalancing involves 3 critical steps:
- Limit synchronous work to its most necessary function. Encourage teams to set core collaboration blocks, limited to a small number of hours.
- Ensure that leaders are role modelling flexibility. Be explicit about the benefits of collaborating more intentionally in ways that incorporate both work and life needs.
- Let employees design their work week around when work happens best for them, not just from 9-5 or via linear scheduling.
Engage and inspire employees with ongoing training and development
Having a sense of purpose and feeling fulfilled in your role at work is crucial. It is down to employers to provide employees with opportunities to grow and develop. This may come in the form of formal training courses, or informal learning lunches and walks. By making work interesting in this way, employees are more likely to stay motivated and focused.
Leveraging digital technologies means that despite sacrificing travel, businesses can not only function but thrive by using remote training technologies. The nature of e-learning means it can be self-paced, scalable and accessible from any device. It is typically more engaging than traditional in-person learning as employees are able to complete learning at their own pace, test themselves and make use of features such as videos and animations.
Additional benefits include:
- Enhancing individuals’ familiar skillsets
- Developing a knowledge sharing culture that benefits employees
- Empowering employees to control their own development
- Strengthening collaboration between internal teams
- Exposing employees to new knowledge.
E-learning provides a platform through which you can clearly communicate your message to staff with tailored training.
Technology is clearly an integral factor in shaping an environment that is conducive to positive wellbeing. But there are a couple of additional considerations employers should take into account.
- Recognise that supporting wellbeing and mental health goes beyond providing access to technology. There must also be a supportive culture in your workplace wherein employees are able to openly talk about their experiences and feel able to take days off when needed. If not, there will be a problematic disconnect between the resources you are providing and the culture you’re creating.
- Ensure the technology you choose is effective for the task, otherwise it risks hindering rather than easing the job. Ideagen’s software uses cloud technology to streamline the user experience, ensure a single source of truth and allows employees to use multiple devices while to seamlessly access their data and applications from any device, anywhere at any time.
Ideagen have the digital tools to help you create a culture of positive wellbeing. Q-Pulse WorkRite is our e-learning software with courses designed to facilitate workplace happiness as well as flexible and hybrid working. To find out more about technology's ability to transform flexible working, watch our webinar.
Create a culture of positive wellbeing
Discover how you can facilitate workplace happiness and support flexible working with technology.Watch the webinar