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Workspace Wednesday: Making Employee Experience an IT Priority
Over the last several months, CEOs of some of the world's largest enterprises (Apple, Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley, to name a few) have drawn a line in the sand, telling employees to be back in the office by X time, typically September, or face the consequence.
Intentional or not, their mandates may end up positively effecting the lack of connectedness and sense of loneliness many employees have reported during the pandemic. As I discussed earlier this week on our sister site, WorkSpace Connect, loneliness is a pressing workplace issue. Consider findings from a pre-COVID survey in which Cigna found that more than 61% of 10,400 employee respondents were lonely at work, with higher rates experienced by millennials and Gen Zers.
More recently, the U.K.’s National Centre for Social Research (NatCan) found employees who worked from home and lived alone experienced higher levels of mental distress over the course of the pandemic, as shared in this NatCan report. Commenting on Cigna’s survey findings, Cigna CEO David Cordani noted an increased use of technology, more telecommuting, and the always-on work culture as the three causes of the high rates of loneliness.
Of course, the pandemic exacerbated these loneliness factors — and allowing employees to continue working primarily from home post-pandemic certainly will not solve the problem. Rather, the return of in-person activities/working now could be a first step in addressing not only loneliness but the larger issue of employee engagement.
Bringing people together to work isn’t giving up on what we learned about digital tools from the pandemic. As Irwin Lazar, president and principal analyst of Metrigy, explained in his latest WorkSpace Connect, enterprises are leveraging and will continue to leverage technology to address employee experience issues.
To better track employee engagement and overall wellbeing, enterprises will rely on a combination of employee experience technology (Microsoft Viva, Cisco Webex with Thrive, and others) and developing and tracking objectives and key results (OKRs). The latter provides insight into the real-time performance of employees and creates a level of workplace connectedness around tackling shared goals, Lazar said. Beyond the technology and OKRs, Lazar stressed the importance of having a proactive strategy that helps employees manage stress, leading to a happier workplace and workforce.
While we have much to suss out about the future of work, Lazar’s point on proactively approaching employee experience seems more important than ever. So, I say start having those conversations as soon as possible and plan accordingly. For those who need some extra help, Enterprise Connect will feature a discussion on the topic with the session “Well-being and Productivity – The Promised Land of Employee Experience Platforms.” Tim Banting, senior principal analyst at Omdia, will explore the market landscape and how IT and business leaders can make the best use of these services. No Jitter readers can save $200 off registration with promo code NJAL200. I hope to see you there!