In the digital world, it’s easy to get disconnected and isolated from others. This is especially true when it comes to remote work. Disconnection can have huge consequences. A large report from The Engagement Institute found that disengaged workers cost businesses up to $550 billion a year.
However, having a sense of community at work can have the opposite effect and help your business. A good work community can help you become more efficient, motivated, productive, and successful, ultimately helping you better achieve your goals.
It goes deeper than that though. Building community at work also ties into your team culture, which is another very important aspect of your business. A negative team culture can drag you down, but a positive team culture will help you reach new heights and achieve your goals. If you want to create a positive culture, having a strong community at work is a key step.
If that sounds tough—don’t worry. In this article, we’re going to cover why you need a community in the workplace, how to do it, as well as the challenges that come with different work environments such as remote and hybrid work.
Benefits of Building Community at Work
First, let’s look at why building community at work is so important. There are numerous benefits that come with having a strong community, so let’s take a look at some of the biggest ones.
Increased Employee Morale
It is well known how important employee morale is when it comes to a business. When your employees are feeling positive, they are going to work harder, be more dedicated, productive, and be better workers. Conversely, employees with low morale are likely to be disengaged, unproductive, and leave the job.
Building community work is a great way to improve your employee morale. A sense of community helps employees feel like they belong, are cared about, and have their voice heard. Those things go a long way when it comes to employee morale.
Another advantage of increased morale is the increased communication that comes with it. Morale and communication are directly related. A survey from Recruiter.com found that 33% of employees said a lack of communication has the biggest negative impact on morale. When you focus on building community at work, you will naturally increase communication as well. That can help you communicate better and further improve morale.
Increased Engagement and Retention
Engagement and retention are two important aspects of business that people often struggle with. Keeping your employees engaged and happy with the company can be a real challenge. By focusing on community at work though, you can increase engagement and retention at the same time.
According to a Harvard Business Review report, employees with a sense of community at work were 55% more engaged and 66% more likely to stay with their employer. That is a huge increase in engagement and retention you do not want to miss out on. Taking the time to put a focus on community in the workplace can have huge benefits that will better your business.
Community and communication are very closely tied. Even the words themselves are similar. Communication is a key part of having a strong community in the workplace, and having a good workplace community will help better communication.
Communication influences all aspects of your business. From cooperation and goal setting to morale and retention, communication is an essential part of all of it. When your team can communicate freely, openly, and honestly with each other, they can develop stronger personal bonds. This in turn helps increase morale, retention, and better teamwork.
One thing to keep in mind is that employees need to be able to feel like they can communicate honestly and openly. If your employees are worried about being scolded or having their ideas shot down, they are more likely to stay quiet instead. You need to set an example by being open and honest with your employees, taking their input/feedback to heart, and providing constructive criticism.
Boost in Creativity
Creativity is an important part of a driven and successful team, but it can be a difficult factor to improve. Creativity isn’t a very concrete or easy to measure thing, so how do you focus on it and help your employees get more creative?
You can actually improve your creativity through having a good community at work. Since workplace communities can also benefit morale, engagement, and communication, it shouldn’t be a surprise it can also improve creativity. Those three factors have a big impact on creativity. When employees feel positive about work, are driven, and can share ideas freely with their co-workers, creativity will increase.
How To Build Community at Work
With the benefits of building community at work covered, now it’s time for the challenging part—how to build community at work. Here are a few strategies you can use to build community at work:
1. Staff lunches.
Did your parents insist on eating dinner together every night when you were a kid? There was a good reason for it—eating meals together has been shown to help bring people together, better communication, improve relationships, and much more. A Cornell University study found that groups that eat together have increased productivity, better morale, and stronger relationships. Encouraging staff lunches is an easy and simple way to build community at work.
2. Employee development and growth.
Another way to better your workplace community is by fostering employee development and growth. Training programs, classes, and the like can help show your employees that you care about them, their futures, and value their abilities.
Encouraging employees to grow and develop can also help better your community in other ways. For example, if you do a training program that focuses on communication and teamwork, like Synergyk, you can develop those skills at the same time you are bettering your work community. Making the effort to help your employees grow is a great way to show them you care and help build community in the workplace.
3. Open communication.
Though better communication is a benefit of community at work, it’s also one of the best ways to build community. Communication is an essential part of any community, work or elsewhere. Without communication, you can’t work together, build relationships, and reach your goals together.
To focus on open communication, it’s key that leaders set an example. They need to be approachable to employees, encourage them, and provide constructive feedback. If managers and leaders lead by example, employees will follow.
4. Team building.
Lastly, team building is another great way to build community at work. Team building exercises, activities, and events can allow you to focus on key aspects that may need improvement, such as communication or teamwork.
Our In It To Win It event is a great way to put an emphasis on teamwork and morale, all while having some fun and bringing your work community together. For virtual teams that want to focus on team building and community, the Virtual Casino Night can be a great choice. Take a look at what team building events are out there and find one that’s a great fit for your team.
Building Community at Work in Different Work Environments
Before wrapping things up, there’s one last thing to talk about—different work environments. In 2023, not every workplace has a traditional office setting. While remote work has been great for employees, it can create some challenges when it comes to building a workplace community.
How do you build a community when your team members are scattered all over the world? Thankfully, most of the techniques and tips in this article will work for remote or hybrid teams as well, though they may require some adjustments.
For example, you can still encourage and practice effective communication in a digital space. Go out of your way to have group calls and make sure everyone is heard. Digital workplaces like Slack allow for employees to set-up their own virtual offices, so take advantage of tools like that to encourage more open communication.
Even something like eating together can still be done virtually. You could set-up a daily lunch video call where everyone is still able to eat together, no matter where they’re located. Though remote and hybrid work environments pose challenges in relation to building a workplace community, you can overcome those challenges by using the strategies listed above and finding creative ways to make them work for non-traditional office environments.
Start Building Your Workplace Community
Having a good workplace community is a valuable thing for businesses. A strong sense of community can lead to better morale, increased retention, better engagement, enhanced creativity, and much more.
By placing an emphasis on communication, team building, employee development, and spending time together, you can build a strong workplace environment that will help you excel and achieve your goals. We have a huge selection of events and activities that can help you build a positive community at work. Get in touch with us today and build the community you and your team deserves.