How to create a happy workplace and boost employee engagement

Breakout areas with foosball tables, beer Fridays and yoga classes at lunchtime are just some of the many HR recommendations for creating a happy workplace. I’m all for encouraging employees to take a break and relax with colleagues, and for promoting wellbeing. It increases productivity, collaboration and employee engagement.

But what about when your staff are actually working? Calling clients, writing emails, updating spreadsheets, fulfilling orders etc.? How can you make sure the actual work part of a job is aligned with your employee engagement strategy and helps make the workplace a happy place to be?

As you might expect from a cloud business, I’m going to suggest that technology has a role to play in creating a happy workplace.

Poor workplace technology solutions reduce employee engagement

There’s nothing more frustrating for an employee than not having the right tools to do their job effectively. Whether it’s a company’s clunky legacy IT system that turns simple tasks into epic battles with the tech, or poor connectivity that slows processes down and makes your employees bang their heads on their desks. It’s demoralising, reduces productivity and has a negative impact on employee satisfaction, retention and other engagement metrics. It makes people miserable!

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So how can cloud solutions help you create a happy workplace? Read on…

Productivity increases happiness

Happy workers are more productive. Researchers at the University of Oxford have recently confirmed a causal link between productivity and happiness – happiness increases productivity by 13%. And the more productive someone is, the more satisfied they are with their performance and that boosts happiness too. It’s a win win. Give employees the tools to be more productive and they’ll feel happier about their job; and as their happiness levels increase they’ll be even more productive.

Office 365 has plenty of apps designed to increase productivity, such as Planner for task management, Flow for automating workflows and MyAnalytics that can help individuals work smarter and manage their time more effectively. All these apps integrate with other Office 365 apps and Microsoft cloud solutions, boosting productivity and performance further.

More workplace collaboration equals happier people

According to a WeWork poll, 52% of happy workers who collaborate with five or more people in their offices per day, say this is one of the keys to being content in the workplace. 70% of workers who collaborate with people outside of their office once or twice a week, such as clients or partners, say they are happy in their job.

While face-to-face human interaction is really important, technology can also promote a culture of collaboration in your workplace. File sharing using simple cloud solutions like SharePoint and OneDrive makes collaborating on projects much easier. Real time sharing of documents and content creates a seamless flow between employees, whether they’re in the office or working remotely. You can also invite individuals from outside your organisation to your SharePoint intranet project, creating opportunities to collaborate and innovate with 3rd parties.

Yammer, Microsoft’s social networking app, is also a useful collaboration tool that connects people across your organisation via a mobile app. Interest / project groups can be set up for open communication between teams and collaborative partners.

Remote workers are happier too

Another new survey, this time from Owl Labs, has found that people who regularly work remotely are 22% happier than those that don’t. 83% of respondents to this survey agreed with the statement that the ability to work remotely would make them happier. Other studies have also discovered a link between remote working and productivity – it increases. So giving employees the flexibility to work remotely will not only increase their happiness but also their performance.

All the cloud solutions mentioned above enable employees to work remotely, however for many organisations security is a barrier to mobility. Fortunately there are tools that will protect your business so you can get benefits of a remote workforce. Identity and Access Management solutions and mobile device management like Microsoft Intune, ensure your employees can access your systems remotely, and from their own devices, without compromising on security. This means you can extend remote working arrangements to any employee who can work productively from their own laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Generally, organisations that are exploring digital transformation focus on benefits such as scalability, flexible costs, cost of ownership / cost effectiveness, competitiveness and access to the latest software updates. Increasing productivity, collaboration and mobility are also motivating factors. So boosting employee engagement and happiness is a bonus  – your HR department will thank you – but one that can have a transformational impact on the workplace.

Another good reason to migrate to the cloud.

A day in the life of your IT team

IT teams! Does a typical day look like this in your department? Find out how to work more effectively and minimise disruption to your working day here.

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