By Nim Sivakumaran

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a new digital workplace. The future of work as we know it is being discussed, re-imagined, tested and created across all industries. In this series, leading industry professionals, entrepreneurs and academics have compiled a few of their thoughts and strategies on building a successful path forward.

Nim Sivakumaran, Head of The Co. which is one of Asia Pacific’s earliest pioneers in coworking and community building, maps out how employers can tackle leadership in the new digital workplace.

Employers are currently questioning how and where their employees are the most engaged and productive during the COVID-19 digital work age. However, several unanswered questions around social isolation, work-life boundaries and a lack of collaboration remain.

For those who know me, I’ve been wearing spectacles since the age of nine and hence my eyesight is not the best. However, 20/20 has provided clarity that despite all the anxiety and disconnect in the world right now, it is really human connection, empathy and the power of community that matters. Now, more than ever, these values are playing an increasingly important role for companies and organizations. These values will ensure that employees do not just survive but thrive.

With the future of work evolving and individuals working from home, we must look at ways to strengthen our connection with each other. We must also prioritize the quality of our interactions over the quantity. Human connection and community building are all about creating an experience that fosters trust and confidence on a corporate and social level. So, what can we do to connect better, be more productive and have a sense of fulfillment?

Be the Connector. Studies have found that people who are curious are often viewed as more interesting and engaging while also appealing to a wider variety of people. With a little curiosity to gain a deep understanding of what the customer needs, community managers can explore how they are best able to support their customers. This support can include matching customers to a relevant product and service, or connecting them to a business that can, all with the ultimate objective of engaging and retaining the customer on a long-term basis.

Be Timely. The faster you can respond to a client or employee’s query, the more confidence they will have in continuing to work with you.

Create Shared Experiences. Research suggests that shared experiences can strengthen the connection between people. Through planning virtual company experiences and events that encourage connections such as social, wellness and networking events community managers can help employees feel like they are a part of a larger connected team.

However, it is simply not enough to host events. Once the event has occurred, encourage your team to tell meaningful stories about the experience, this can be done through social media or virtual workplace platforms. Encourage employees to share photos amongst the community and create excitement for the next event.

Bring in the experts. Curating memorable experiences is not an easy feat. Show your team you care by creating events and experiences that matter. If you are confident in your ability to plan and execute your own event, there are definitely benefits to curating this in-house. However, if you have any concerns about your ability to successfully manage all aspects of an event, it may be worth looking into the services of a trusted external partner to provide a supporting hand in enhancing the experience for your community.

Bringing all these components together will be a learning process but showing employees you care about them as individuals will positively impact engagement and productivity. Embracing diverse teams and creating safe spaces for collaboration and innovation will positively impact your bottom line but also breathe new life into your company culture.