Why Meaningful Human Connections Are Key to Successful Remote and Hybrid Work Environments

Ten Thousand Coffees Team -
December 21, 2021

For most, 2020 was about adapting to remote and hybrid working to ensure daily operations continued without interruption. But as companies moved to permanently adopt hybrid and remote work models in 2021, priorities have shifted to building connected work environments that foster networking and meaningful connections. 

Disconnectedness is one of the unintended consequences of the rapid shift to remote and hybrid work environments. In a recent audience poll, 58% of respondents said the lack of connection with colleagues was the biggest impact of this shift. In addition, recent research found that remote employees are twice as less engaged than in-person employees. 

Employees want genuine experiences to connect that go beyond Zoom conference calls and webinars. This is particularly the case with younger employees, as over 70% want additional opportunities to build relationships with colleagues, and they are more likely to experience the pain of social isolation compared to their older peers in remote work environments

This research shows the importance for HR and business leaders to address the negative impacts of disconnectedness within their workforces. As this continued loss impacts many important facets of organizational success like engagement, retention, productivity, career progression and the creation of strong employee networks. 

Strong Networks Drive Productivity and Innovation

During a recent discussion led by Ten Thousand Coffees founder and CEO Dave Wilkin on connectivity in the new hybrid workplace, Steven Pae, VP Global Head of Marketing and Digital Technology at Prudential Financial talked about the impact strong networks can have on productivity, 

“Studies have proven that people with informal networks have a higher propensity to succeed in their organization”.

In fact, networks are 5x more a predictor of performance than education, seniority, cognitive ability and personality combined. 

But as Pae points out, “the challenge for HR and Business leaders is that networks are more difficult to maintain in hybrid and remote work environments”. 

Companies Have Become More Siloed

Recent studies by Microsoft suggest the same. Their annual Work Trend Index, provides insight to organizations on how people work and collaborate. The 2021 report found that peoples’ networks shrank by as much as 16% after the shift to remote work in 2020. While interactions within close networks remained high, companies became more siloed, with less interactions between teams, which negatively impacts productivity and innovation. 

Small networks limit the opportunity to learn from others and restrict collaboration across teams. This leads to missed opportunities to share best practices. People who reported feeling more productive in the Microsoft Work Index also reported having stronger, broader workplace relationships compared to those that don’t.  

Innovation also suffers with siloed networks. Ideas across teams are less likely to be shared, creating less opportunities for innovative thought that comes from diverse perspectives.  Respondents who indicated that their interactions with colleagues decreased were less likely to thrive at innovative and strategic thought, brainstorming, and proposing new ideas. 

Enterprise HR and Business leaders need to create virtual workspaces that leverage technology for cross-functional teams to share ideas, work collaboratively and network. Investing in this approach will break down organizational silos and drive long-term business growth.

Networking Is A Key Component To Career Growth 

Networking is a key aspect to career development. Nearly 85% of all jobs are found through it. Peer to peer networking is particularly important because it can motivate employees on the same career trajectory to push one another, leading to mutual growth and development. Sharing networks with peers also creates allies, which can lead to greater collaboration. 

The average employee typically has 150 contacts. By comparison, senior leaders have 20x larger networks than early talent, a major factor in their career progression. 

While remote and hybrid work arrangements have become the norm, there is broad sentiment amongst employees that their career growth risks stagnating from the lack of meaningful networking opportunities. 

As Dave Wilkin pointed out in his discussion on connectivity in the new hybrid workplace, “we know a lot of people in hybrid work environments are afraid that if they're not at the office and getting that face time at the watercooler, they’re not going to advance at the same pace.”

For HR and business leaders, technology can play an important role in implementing formal and informal activities that cater to employees in remote, and hybrid work environments.  

Ten Thousand Coffees’ Introductions feature for example, virtually connects employees that may not normally cross paths. Employees are matched automatically based on shared career goals and interests. This can broaden and diversify their network, leading to more collaboration, and sharing of career goals. 

Connecting Senior Leaders Helps Drive Talent Acquisition and Retention

Senior leaders are looking for ways to connect with employees, but many aren’t equipped with the right connectivity tools to do it. For HR leaders, this is a missed opportunity. Senior leaders have the reach and influence to positively impact talent acquisition and retention through people-driven relationships. 

This is particularly important with onboarding, as almost 60% of new hires say they are unsure who to talk to about their career development. The risk is substantial, as new employees are 2x more likely to look for other opportunities because of a bad onboarding experience. 

Office Hours are an effective way of making senior leaders more accessible to employees in the office or remotely. Leaders can share their insight and experience in a small group setting, answering frequently asked questions that employees may be seeking advice for. 

Build A Thriving Virtual Networking Culture For Your Hybrid Workforce

Virtual networking platforms like Ten Thousand Coffees are built for optimizing networking in hybrid environments. For HR and business leaders, these technologies can elevate the networking experience and provide real-time data to track your progress.

Contact us to find out how we can help you build more meaningful virtual networking experiences for your hybrid workforce. 

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Why Meaningful Human Connections Are Key to Successful Remote and Hybrid Work Environments

For most, 2020 was about adapting to remote and hybrid working to ensure daily operations continued without interruption. But as companies moved to permanently adopt hybrid and remote work models in 2021, priorities have shifted to building connected work environments that foster networking and meaningful connections. 

Disconnectedness is one of the unintended consequences of the rapid shift to remote and hybrid work environments. In a recent audience poll, 58% of respondents said the lack of connection with colleagues was the biggest impact of this shift. In addition, recent research found that remote employees are twice as less engaged than in-person employees. 

Employees want genuine experiences to connect that go beyond Zoom conference calls and webinars. This is particularly the case with younger employees, as over 70% want additional opportunities to build relationships with colleagues, and they are more likely to experience the pain of social isolation compared to their older peers in remote work environments

This research shows the importance for HR and business leaders to address the negative impacts of disconnectedness within their workforces. As this continued loss impacts many important facets of organizational success like engagement, retention, productivity, career progression and the creation of strong employee networks. 

Strong Networks Drive Productivity and Innovation

During a recent discussion led by Ten Thousand Coffees founder and CEO Dave Wilkin on connectivity in the new hybrid workplace, Steven Pae, VP Global Head of Marketing and Digital Technology at Prudential Financial talked about the impact strong networks can have on productivity, 

“Studies have proven that people with informal networks have a higher propensity to succeed in their organization”.

In fact, networks are 5x more a predictor of performance than education, seniority, cognitive ability and personality combined. 

But as Pae points out, “the challenge for HR and Business leaders is that networks are more difficult to maintain in hybrid and remote work environments”. 

Companies Have Become More Siloed

Recent studies by Microsoft suggest the same. Their annual Work Trend Index, provides insight to organizations on how people work and collaborate. The 2021 report found that peoples’ networks shrank by as much as 16% after the shift to remote work in 2020. While interactions within close networks remained high, companies became more siloed, with less interactions between teams, which negatively impacts productivity and innovation. 

Small networks limit the opportunity to learn from others and restrict collaboration across teams. This leads to missed opportunities to share best practices. People who reported feeling more productive in the Microsoft Work Index also reported having stronger, broader workplace relationships compared to those that don’t.  

Innovation also suffers with siloed networks. Ideas across teams are less likely to be shared, creating less opportunities for innovative thought that comes from diverse perspectives.  Respondents who indicated that their interactions with colleagues decreased were less likely to thrive at innovative and strategic thought, brainstorming, and proposing new ideas. 

Enterprise HR and Business leaders need to create virtual workspaces that leverage technology for cross-functional teams to share ideas, work collaboratively and network. Investing in this approach will break down organizational silos and drive long-term business growth.

Networking Is A Key Component To Career Growth 

Networking is a key aspect to career development. Nearly 85% of all jobs are found through it. Peer to peer networking is particularly important because it can motivate employees on the same career trajectory to push one another, leading to mutual growth and development. Sharing networks with peers also creates allies, which can lead to greater collaboration. 

The average employee typically has 150 contacts. By comparison, senior leaders have 20x larger networks than early talent, a major factor in their career progression. 

While remote and hybrid work arrangements have become the norm, there is broad sentiment amongst employees that their career growth risks stagnating from the lack of meaningful networking opportunities. 

As Dave Wilkin pointed out in his discussion on connectivity in the new hybrid workplace, “we know a lot of people in hybrid work environments are afraid that if they're not at the office and getting that face time at the watercooler, they’re not going to advance at the same pace.”

For HR and business leaders, technology can play an important role in implementing formal and informal activities that cater to employees in remote, and hybrid work environments.  

Ten Thousand Coffees’ Introductions feature for example, virtually connects employees that may not normally cross paths. Employees are matched automatically based on shared career goals and interests. This can broaden and diversify their network, leading to more collaboration, and sharing of career goals. 

Connecting Senior Leaders Helps Drive Talent Acquisition and Retention

Senior leaders are looking for ways to connect with employees, but many aren’t equipped with the right connectivity tools to do it. For HR leaders, this is a missed opportunity. Senior leaders have the reach and influence to positively impact talent acquisition and retention through people-driven relationships. 

This is particularly important with onboarding, as almost 60% of new hires say they are unsure who to talk to about their career development. The risk is substantial, as new employees are 2x more likely to look for other opportunities because of a bad onboarding experience. 

Office Hours are an effective way of making senior leaders more accessible to employees in the office or remotely. Leaders can share their insight and experience in a small group setting, answering frequently asked questions that employees may be seeking advice for. 

Build A Thriving Virtual Networking Culture For Your Hybrid Workforce

Virtual networking platforms like Ten Thousand Coffees are built for optimizing networking in hybrid environments. For HR and business leaders, these technologies can elevate the networking experience and provide real-time data to track your progress.

Contact us to find out how we can help you build more meaningful virtual networking experiences for your hybrid workforce. 

BOOK A DEMO

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