In this new reality, leaders must learn to provide autonomy and flexibility while fostering union among workers.
In sociology, the “proximity principle” describes the tendency of people to establish interpersonal relationships with those who are close. This happens when we become friends with people we meet regularly, energizing each other and sharing a smile, an inside joke, or drinks after work.
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It turns out that these friendships are really important for employee engagement. A now-famous Gallup poll found that employees who have a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their work.
These days, proximity is harder to come by than ever. Even employees who go to the office can find it empty or full of co-workers they barely know.
People feel isolated and fatigued working from home, but most don’t want to give up the flexibility of not having to come in every day. In this new reality, leaders must learn to provide autonomy and flexibility while fostering togetherness.
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In the highest-trust relationships and highest-performing teams, each person commits to what can be expected of them, so that the other can hold them accountable. In a remote setting this extends beyond metrics to explicitly include where, when and how people prefer to work.
Earlier this year, all Salesforce Service Cloud teams created a work agreement to document the needs and preferences of each team member.
The personal news bits we’re used to picking up from physical proximity are now gone or drastically reduced. So managers need to be more deliberate about creating a space for team members to share, perhaps devoting portions of meetings to updates on their lives or a Slack message that invites everyone to share a photo of their team members. his summer.
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