Remember when you used to run into a colleague in the hallways and have a casual chat about an upcoming project? Or recapped your recent vacation? Those seemingly inconsequential, informal conversations are more important than you think. They’re a key aspect of social capital, a term used to describe the personal relationships within a company that help build trust and mutual respect among employees. Many positive results come from this type of human interaction – from better decision making to increased efficiency (Forbes).
We recently came across an article in Harvard Business Review entitled “What a Year of WFH Has Done to Our Relationships at Work.” In the piece, authors Nancy Baym, Jonathan Larson, and Ronnie Martin detail new research that shows that employees and teams are becoming increasingly siloed. According to Microsoft’s annual Work Trend Index, people are no longer connecting with others outside of their immediate teams. This has severely impacted social capital and increased feelings of loneliness and isolation throughout the workplace. New employees are having trouble adjusting and meeting people at work, and old employees and having trouble maintaining strong relationships.
Here are some of the most eye-opening takeaways from Microsoft’s annual research:
- Strong workplace relationships directly impact two factors associated with the bottom line: productivity & innovation.
- New employees and employees aged 18 to 25 have been harder hit by feelings of social isolation.
While those takeaways might be grim, what we love most about this research is the positive and hopeful conclusion. According to the authors, who studied trends in countries where people had returned to hybrid work environments, the solution lies in promoting social connections at work.
“The organizations of the future, the ones people will be most excited to work for, will be those that foster supportive social ties for those in the room, and also those who are not.”
At MixR we believe in the power of community and interest-based connection to do exactly this. Our powerful community building platform is designed to strengthen an organization’s culture and create safe spaces for employees to connect and boost their social capital. Employees are empowered to connect with others based on their interests – beyond traditional workplace responsibilities – boosting trust and sense of belonging across the organization. In a hybrid work environment, fulfilling relationships can help maintain a positive culture for all and enforce a sense of shared-purpose that will benefit your people and bottom line.
We highly encourage you to dive deeper and learn more about the effects of WFH on relationships at work, and the importance of boosting social capital for long-term business success. If you’re interested in learning more about MixR and how we can help you prepare for the future of work, please feel free to reach out or book a demo.