As the workplace changes so are employee attitudes; and in sectors where attraction and retention are big factors to success, businesses must now rethink and replan how IT can support the employee experience.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people work, and companies have met the challenge of shifting to virtual workspaces. While the technology exists to keep employees connected to headquarters, maintaining a positive employee experience (EX) remains a challenge to most businesses.

Remote working promises to remain part of the working model even after the pandemic subsides. Companies are willingly allocating resources dedicated to creating and maintaining a healthy, collaborative work environment. Such efforts involve rethinking internal communications and embracing technology that supports and enhances communication and collaboration. 

Human Resources and IT teams need to work together to enhance the digital network to boost the employee experience (EX). Working through such unprecedented times has highlighted several key areas that require immediate attention.

High Speed WAN Connectivity & SD-WAN

At Think Connect, we understand how critical it is to have a robust, high-speed Wide Area Network (WAN) for your entire organisation. From the head office to branch locations, remote employees home offices, and even on the road, adequate bandwidth is vital. Future network configurations involve Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) and other protocols to create a secure, fast, and stable network across the enterprise. SD-Branch can increase the reach still further to the LAN

At this point, many companies have upgraded their networks to account for the rapid expansion of branches and remote workers. Those with the foresight to invest for long-term growth will be able to scale their networks as needed, even post-pandemic. Many staff who return to the office may continue to take advantage of the flexibility that comes with working remotely.

A stable, fortified network is the backbone for all other business processes. When lack of available network bandwidth becomes an issue, business efficiency suffers immensely. Think Connect can help you incorporate high-speed lines with either SD-WAN or SD-Branch technology to boost business productivity and the overall employee experience (EX).

Boost Internal Communication with Chat

Chat apps can keep employees discreetly connected throughout the workday. We find that using the power of chat, employees can communicate and ask questions on the fly without email delay or needing a more formal phone or video call. 

Most chat applications feature group chats, screen sharing, file exchange, and voice calling for those times when more collaboration is needed. Furthermore, chat apps provide real-time status updates, allowing employees to see who is online, who is available, and who is busy, in a meeting, or stepped away. Chat apps also have a reporting function so that conversations can be recorded appropriately and archived.

In a traditional office setting, employees would visit each other’s desks, discuss a project over coffee, or huddle in a conference room. This approach remains possible with a chat app by shifting the meeting space from a physical to a virtual one. Productivity never occurs in a vacuum, and chat is becoming an indispensable collaborative tool in the new virtual workplace. 

Team Sharing Applications

More formal collaborative tools are team sharing applications, which enable team members to work together across geographical locations and time zones. Applications such as MS Teams, Zoom, and SharePoint offer tools that remote teams can use to collaborate on shared projects. Team members located in the office can seamlessly engage with remote home workers and even those out on the road.

Such tools allow employees to work together in real-time, track individual progress, share files, meet virtually, demonstrate processes, and more. Not only are these applications critical to business productivity, but they also promote collaboration in the virtual environment. They enable fluid communication across teams and enhance the overall employee experience (EX).

At Think Connect, we have worked with many customers to design and roll out a well-thought-out Microsoft Team environment to their entire estate.

Video Meetings

An essential element in employee experience (EX) involves creating and maintaining a collaborative and inclusive office culture, which can pose a challenge in today’s work-from-anywhere office model. One way to enrich the overall EX is through video meetings or video conferencing. Video conferencing allows employees to see and hear each other, opening the door to anywhere communications. 

Video conferencing promotes connectedness and rapport across geographical locations. In addition to discussing tasks at hand, teams can hold other events such as virtual all-hands meetings or management announcements such as company performance and employee recognition. Through video conferencing apps, employees can connect, express themselves professionally and personally, plus get to know their colleagues despite physical distance.

Remote Working

While remote working isn’t anything new, it became an immediate necessity for millions of workers when COVID-19 closed office buildings worldwide. Many employees have embraced working from home, so much so that fewer employees are expected to return to the office after the pandemic ends. 

Working from anywhere is gaining popularity, and supporting these remote working models is becoming essential for productivity, talent acquisition, and retention. A desirable employee experience (EX) means seamless connectivity from the branch, home, and anywhere in between in today’s workplace. 

Companies that have fortified their WAN and SD-WAN networks and adopted collaborative tools like those discussed above can support their remote workforce without sacrificing productivity and communication.

Invest in Online Video Training

Now more than ever, the relationship between online learning and work are intertwined. Companies that invest in online learning for their employees will earn exponentially more revenue than those who do not value training and education. In fact, the global eLearning market is projected to reach $325 billion by 2025.

Education is critical to professional growth for employees as well as financial growth for companies. Learning management systems are no longer limited to in-house compliance training. Instead, corporate online learning has transformed into a vehicle for engaging employees and facilitating new skills acquisition. The happy result for employees is career advancement, and the company earns loyalty from its employees as well as increased productivity.

Conclusion

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic pushed thousands of companies and employees into the world of remote collaboration, many organisations were modifying the traditional workplace to include branch locations and fully remote employees logging on from home offices. IT teams worldwide have met these challenges successfully by employing SD-WAN and other network platforms and protocols to keep people connected and data protected.

Successful online collaboration also relies on applications such as video chat, messaging, and file sharing, all of which keep people connected professionally and personally. Seamless communication means increased collaboration, productivity, rapport, and cohesion among team members, regardless of physical location. 

If you would like to discuss employee boosting technologies (EX) such as high-speed connectivity, SD-WAN, SD-Branch, and teams boosting tools, one of our experts is on hand to help.