· Insights

How to bring the ‘watercooler moment’ back into the hybrid office

Does hybrid working mean we’ve had to sacrifice those moments of inspired collaboration we once found in the office? Well, it doesn't have to, but perhaps we do need a revised and agile approach to keep up with the post-pandemic way of life.

There’s simply no denying that the “hybrid working genie'' is now well and truly out of the bottle and despite the resistance in some workplaces, the genie won’t be going back in anytime soon. The questions that remain are: what does this mean for the future of the modern workplace and should we be concerned?

As with anything revolutionary, there are multiple conclusions to be drawn here and for the majority, this is a welcome change as it boasts improved productivity, better work-life balance, and lower stress levels to name a few. 

But there are still some lessons to be learned; for every job that allows individuals to embrace remote working, there are others that simply cannot be as flexible e.g.  in healthcare, transport or construction.

In other words, the essential workers who are required to be front and centre around the clock.  What we see emerging now is a more prominent two-tier divide between the nonessential and essential worker, and muddy waters in between, as the market struggles to find candidates to fill the latter - where the disadvantages seem to outweigh the benefits their peers face.

As a collective this is ultimately having a knock-on effect on internal communication.

How do we ensure the dream still works if we can no longer facilitate the team work ? How can the full-time, part-time, office-based or home-based workers begin to compensate for those sought-after moments at the metaphorical (or very real) watercooler to share ideas, connect with colleagues from different departments, or simply put a face to the serial meme poster in the team group chat.

Regardless of whether we take the watercooler literally or not, what it represents - the kind of serendipitous bonds built over refreshments, that feeling that you are part of a wider work community, with shared values and a shared commitment to common goals and objectives – remains ever real and crucial.

What’s important to retain from this is that the two can and should coexist and understanding what is at stake will be the motivation. To begin with, flexible working has increased our need for technological solutions which enable clear, swift and effective communication.


Personalised, timely and effective 

The good news is that, as ever, technology is on our side and what would once have been seen as a gigantic leap into the unknown is now a mere step in the right direction of creating the optimal employee experience.

Rest assured the majority of your employees already engage every day with a vast array of digital platforms so it’s now your job to play catch up and take a piece of the pie. And you can do that with personalised employee experience platforms.

The even better news is the recipe is readily available as we can replicate the same levels of performance as they enjoy as consumers elsewhere.

Imagine a world where you could send employees carefully crafted messages tailored to their needs, whilst providing them with on-demand communications at the perfectly orchestrated moment.

Instantly reducing the communication noise will allow- you and the recipient to feel more engaged and less overloaded by distractions. 

Providing platforms which enable personal and professional connections to be built and maintained by employees themselves, allows employees to engage, enable and empower each other without the heavy hand of the C-suite… almost like a digital watercooler moment.

Well, don’t just imagine. The technology, as I have said, really does exist here and now let you do all this and much more. No matter what mix of hybrid and office-based employee you have, it is possible to use technology to enable seamless communications with every single individual – and to allow them to engage with each other in the same way – and with the same ease – as they do in their ordinary lives.

To find out more and discover how technology can help your organisation build better digital platforms to meet all your future needs click here now.

Chanel McFarlane is enterprise customer success manager, UK and Nordics, LumApps