Community at work, part 1 – traditional workplace [Column] – Reading the Eagle

In the ten years of writing this column, I have often talked about the importance of community at work … a lot (“Make the mood in your workplace bright all year long,” December 17, 2013; “Do you create community at work?” Lis. . 21, 2017; “Guide the Heart to Feed the Spirit,” January 14, 2019; and “Contact Colleagues,” June 15, 2021).

Today’s lesson is about the community at work, albeit a little differently. As we know, the pandemic has forever changed the way we work; specifically where we work: on-site, remotely or a combination of both. While this can make the community at work harder to achieve, it makes it no less important. In fact, I think it’s more important than ever to make it a priority in the workplace.

Community at work

Before moving on to today’s lesson, let’s take a brief look at what we know:

• A 2013 Gallup survey found that 70% of Americans either hate work or are completely disconnected because they are dissatisfied, angry, or sad, and benefits don’t help.

• Their “exclusion” annually costs companies and the U.S. billions and billions of dollars in productivity loss, employee theft and truancy.

• Instead of improving, the lack of re-involvement of employees along with the fear of COVID forced employees to take action and resign, a movement that became known as the Great Resignation. An article in FastCompany dated October 21, 2021 reported that “The Workhuman survey surveyed employees in the US, UK, Ireland and Canada and found that almost 40% plan to look for a new job in the next 12 months” – from 21% in 2019.

• And, yes, the costs are even higher! RandStad RiseSmart shared opinions from the Predictive Index survey (Talent Optimization Status Report 2022) that the average cost of one layoff is approximately $ 11,372 per employee. The forecast index reports that “1 in 5 workers have resigned in the last 6 months”. And this is in all areas surveyed. That’s a lot of money wasted!

So how do we stop the notorious “cancer of separation” and reverse this trend of business destruction?

In previous lessons, we learned that building a “community at work” is really about caring for each other, not as a friendly partner or a mocking neighbor, but in the authentic sense that we care about the other person we work with on a daily basis. side by side. common goals. The type of care that at best looks like this: having boundaries where everyone is responsible but helping a colleague who really needs support or help; show compassion to others without becoming their advisor or gossip; or celebrating and respecting the differences of others like the benefits of collaboration and innovation.

We also learned that “community in the workplace” can help change interactions and benefit companies through more innovation, collaboration, loyalty and morale. I have written about what others (Badrinarayanan and Madhavaram, 2008) call spirituality in the workplace, through which employees feel: they can be themselves at work, work makes sense and they are connected to others. It creates interaction as it creates community.

Now more than ever we need a community at work

The demarcation and exodus of employees did not start with COVID, but it certainly got worse. COVID has created many problems for companies and their employees. At the same time, it brought a “new normality” to the world of work. If remote or hybrid jobs were an anomaly, they are now a routine component of where and how work is done.

The remote and hybrid workplace is vastly different from the traditional workplace environment. Freedom, convenience, and cost savings in a remote or hybrid workplace pose new challenges – the number of people available or available at any given time, as well as the ability to build and maintain a collaborative environment are among the most significant.

If remote work is possible, there are fewer people in the traditional workplace, and people who work remotely work alone. This way, all employees have less and shorter interactions with colleagues, whether they are removed or in place. This creates social isolation, which can be a performance problem for many employees, regardless of personal preference. In addition, teamwork refers to group chats and documents or video conferencing.

All this should not hinder our effectiveness in achieving our goals, but it requires our attention and action – to create a virtual community at work. How we do it is the subject of next week’s lesson!

Next week: Community at Work, Part 2 – Virtual Workplace

Dr. Santa D. Morabella, a practicing professor, is a retired professor of management at Moravian College and hosts the podcast “Hours of Working with a Practitioner Professor … and Friends.” His latest book, Lessons of Care, is written to inspire and support educators (available in paperback and e-book). Website:; Twitter: @PracticalProf; Facebook: ThePracticalProf.

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