Whether imposed or flexible, teleworking can be a difficult experience for employees. Teleworkers may feel isolated from their colleagues and superiors. This major risk has consequences for employees’ well-being and commitment to the company.
Isolated teleworking inevitably means poor communication. When teleworking, the communication tools deployed must be simple and easy to use, so that employees pick them up quickly. However, this is sometimes not enough.
A simple instant messenger is easy to use, but doesn’t allow you to recreate qualitative interactions. Generally, exchanges are short and limited to questions and answers. Communication is therefore insufficient. Over the long term, the links between employees become weaker.
Making the most of videoconferencing
The deployment of videoconferencing tools in companies is now essential for teleworking teams. However, these solutions are still under-utilised. Many employees deactivate their webcams during online meetings and lose the opportunity to interact more effectively with the person they are speaking to. This type of practice leads to a feeling of isolation when teleworking.
The importance of non-verbal communication
Non-verbal communication can provide information about a colleague’s emotional or physical state and enable the conversation to be adapted. Body language (facial expressions, movements, posture, etc.) can indicate agitation, apathy or dissatisfaction. The gaze may be shifty or fixed, indicating interest and attention. All these elements contribute to enriching communication and getting the most out of it.
Setting up rituals
On the other hand, holding a series of videoconference meetings throughout the day can quickly become exhausting for employees and, above all, counter-productive. What’s more, these meetings generally leave little room for informal communication. This does nothing to reduce the feeling of isolation among employees.
To maintain a good team dynamic, certain rituals need to be put in place, such as weekly meetings or short “daily meetings”. These encourage exchanges without taking up too much of the working day. Other, more informal and fun activities can be devised to strengthen team cohesion (online games, challenges, video afterwork, etc.).
The aim is to strengthen links between teams while maintaining autonomy and productivity.
The virtual open-space to avoid feelings of isolation and strengthen team spirit
Every morning, employees work together in the same space, working remotely without feeling isolated.
Everyone appears in a video bubble and can work in peace and quiet, surrounded by their colleagues. To exchange views, employees simply click on a colleague’s bubble to switch to a traditional videoconference. The other colleagues can see the bubbles coming closer together, creating a discussion group.
Each discussion group is represented by a different colour.
The teleworker is just like being in the office:
- they can easily share their screen,
- hold a meeting
- have an informal chat with a colleague
- or concentrate on their work while seeing their colleagues.
All this without feeling isolated.
Finally, TixeoFusion also facilitates the exchange of information between all participants, via the integrated instant chat module.
Thanks to the virtual open-space, teleworking employees can easily chat with different teams, which also strengthens cross-functional collaboration.
Integrating new teleworkers
In teleworking, the arrival of a new employee must be well prepared in order to facilitate their integration into the company.
On the first day, everything must be done to ensure that the newcomer feels welcome and can get to know the teams in place. Support during the first few weeks is crucial to help them take charge of their new role and their place in the organisation. Regular exchanges should be arranged to identify any difficulties at an early stage. A rapid and successful integration of a teleworking employee will limit the risks of isolation.
Raising team awareness
Organisations need to react before a teleworker becomes truly isolated. There are various warning signs: loss of motivation, lack of involvement in meetings, fewer exchanges, etc.
Awareness-raising measures can be put in place within the organisation to prevent isolation while teleworking. In addition, managers need to be trained in these issues so that they can react quickly and support their staff. Regular feedback with their teams is also recommended to detect this type of malaise.
Monitoring workload and respecting the right to disconnect
Finally, the feeling of isolation when teleworking can also be felt when an employee is overloaded with work. When teleworking, it’s easier to stay at your desk for a few extra hours to finish a task. However, this hyper-connection can have harmful effects on the employee’s health and personal life, and can lead to a feeling of isolation.
Here again, the manager must ensure that the employee’s workload is consistent and that they can disconnect completely after their working day to devote themselves to their family life and leisure activities.