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Bridging human connections: How employees are staying connected at work

Bridging human connections: How employees are staying connected at work


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There’s no doubt that the year 2020 changed us all. Whether it made us feel more anxious about day-to-day life or gave us a better work-life balance, the path forward for making human connections looks vastly different than it did prior to the global pandemic.

With the constant shift to different work models, it’s important to develop a hybrid work model to support employees moving forward. In fact, it’s critical given 83% of workers believed that a hybrid work model would be optimal. 

In addition, Prudential’s Pulse of the American Worker survey shared that 68% of workers believed that a hybrid work model would be ideal. Commenting on the results of the survey, Prudential’s Rob Falzon noted: 

“Our survey shows that American workers want the benefit of remote work, but still see value in coming together in-person at least some of the time.”

—Rob Falzon, Prudential Vice Chair

We’ve been listening to employees from small and mid-sized businesses to better understand how they feel about work and how they’re managing to stay connected. Here, we highlight key findings from our recent survey so you can develop better strategies for your business as it evolves for the future.

👀  Did you know employees crave more connection in the workplace? Grab our 2022 state of human connections at work report to get the whole story.

👀   Get this free report to learn more about the state of human connections.


There’s been a shift in how we connect with others

state of human connections report 74% say what it means to be connected to another human changed over the course of the COVID pandemic.

Few businesses were open to a significant amount of remote work before COVID. There was a lot of face-to-face interaction at the office, even with wide accessibility to other connection tools. However, with the increase in remote and hybrid work, employees are communicating with one another using other methods like phone, video, and messaging.

COVID has done one positive thing for humans. Amy Rokach, a psychologist and expert in loneliness, noted:

“Suddenly, people are becoming aware of how important it is to stay in contact with their fellow humans. Whether it’s by phone or in person, I hope this will stick with us when we come out of the pandemic.”

—Amy Rokach, Psychologist

People are more receptive to connecting outside of the office and much more comfortable with staying close through digital methods despite their physical distance. COVID forced everyone into isolation, but communications tools proved to be invaluable for most.

People are feeling more lonely at work

state of human connections report 39% say working hybrid or remotely during COVID has made them feel more lonely and isolated at work

There’s no nice way to put it: COVID made everyone feel just a little bit more sad, anxious, and alone. It’s the unfortunate truth of a rapidly changing world, and there’s very little we can do as individuals to stop it. In a recent national survey of Americans, 36% of respondents reported serious loneliness—feeling lonely “frequently” or “almost all the time or all the time” in the four weeks prior to the survey. 

Staying connected with others isn’t a want or a nice-to-have—it’s a necessity. Technology enables everyone to remain close, no matter their physical distance, so embracing methods of digital communication will help your team grow closer together as you develop a remote or hybrid working model.

Providing multiple ways for your employees to communicate (for example, through phone calls, video meetings, messaging chats, SMS, and fax) will make it easier for everyone to stay connected. In addition, creating fun, non-work-related channels for communication can help boost spirits and productivity.

Employers strengthen trust with employees

state of human connections report 67% are “very confident’ or “confident” in their employer’s plan for a post-COVID return to work.

Every business needs a plan to move past the COVID pandemic. The tricky part of navigating this evolution is developing a plan that makes employees feel both comfortable and connected. The good news is that the majority of employees believe their employer has an effective strategy for a post-COVID return to work.

If you haven’t already been thinking about moving forward with your business, it’s time to start. Kick off conversations with your employees to gather information on how hybrid or remote work has made people feel and whether or not they’re open to returning to the office. According to PwC, business leaders are well aware that supporting their employees through a time of transition is key to business growth, with 55% of leaders prioritizing support for burned-out, at-risk employees.

Open communication starts at the top, so it’s important to facilitate honest discussions and be receptive to ideas for how to engage employees, even at a distance. 

Enable human connections through communication tools

state of human connections report 68% say they rely “much more” or “somewhat more” on business communications and collaboration tools since COVID.

Remote work during COVID challenged everyone to move toward communication methods that didn’t require face-to-face interaction in the office. It developed a dependence on phone calls, video meetings, messaging apps, SMS, and email. As a result, most employees have grown more comfortable with these alternative methods of communication.

Even after returning to work, many employees won’t be willing to give up what they’ve grown to enjoy. Driving productivity going forward may include a combination of hybrid work and a single app for all your communications needs: phone calls, video conferencing, fax, SMS, chat, and contact center. 

💡 Pro-tip:

We live in a mobile world and people want the ability to easily switch between devices and connect with others however, whenever, and wherever they want. Get a powerful communications tool, like RingCentral MVP™, that lets you and your employees truly work from anywhere.

Build better relationships with phone and video

state of human connections report 69% believe people that make phone or video calls have better personal relationships with coworkers.

As you grow more comfortable with digital communication methods, they become almost second nature. A Pew Research Center study found that 81% of remote workers use video calling or online conferencing services to keep in touch with colleagues, and 59% characterize their usage frequency as “often.”

Employees who have come to rely on phone calls and video messaging found that they enjoyed it more than they thought they would. It fosters a close relationship and a sense of comfort when you’re involved and can easily connect with others in a matter of seconds. 

Don’t neglect these two critical communication channels: phone and video. They’re proving to be staples in how employees prefer to communicate. Get on board with a single app for phone, video, and messaging so you never miss a chance to connect with the customers and retain top employees that are growing your business. 

All-in-one communication apps are a need, not a want

state of human connections report 83% agree having access to a messaging platform, voice calling, and video meetings all-in-one app is ideal.

A majority of employees believe not only that phone, video, and messaging are essential, but that it needs to be accessible in a single app. This makes it easier for employees to communicate without the need to constantly switch back and forth between multiple apps. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Choosing an all-in-one communications app is not simply more convenient for your workers; you’ll benefit as well. If you choose one vendor that bundles phone, video, and messaging in one app, you only have to deal with one bill and can work with a dedicated account manager that will ensure you get the most out of your investment. With one communications platform, you can focus your time and money on what matters most—your business. Imagine ditching multiple vendors for just one that can do it all—you’ll have less bills, headaches, and stress. 

Possibilities: How unified communications builds human connections

The future of work is wherever you are

state of human connections report 75% believe freedom to work from anywhere is the norm for all relevant industries.

COVID proved that people can truly work from anywhere and still be successful. It offers more fulfillment with an increase in work-life balance and more time with family. Happy employees are productive employees, so it’s time to embrace the future of the workplace. For all relevant industries, the freedom to work from wherever you go is essential. 

Make sure to equip yourself and your team with the right tools, starting with a communications app that lets you work from anywhere and on any device so you can seamlessly switch between your phone, tablet, or laptop.

Bridge human connections with RingCentral

To be prepared for the future of work, you need a reliable communications tool that works from anywhere, anytime, and across all devices. RingCentral MVP offers seamless productivity across phone, video, and messaging, and much more in a single app. RingCentral small and medium business customers experience the following:

  • 52% increase in ROI
  • 50% increase in employee satisfaction
  • 33% increase in employee productivity
  • 27% increase in average revenue growth
  • 22% decrease in telecommunications costs

With RingCentral, you’ll have access to a flexible communications tool that’s easy to use and powerful enough to grow with your business. You can quickly scale phone lines, users, and devices up or down in a matter of clicks. 

RingCentral Dial

The best part is you can enhance your workflows by easily connecting RingCentral with all your favorite apps (like Salesforce, Microsoft 365, and Google Cloud) with 250+ integrations in the RingCentral App Gallery and open APIs through the RingCentral developer portal to customize your workflows.

Get on board with an award-winning platform that makes your small business look big. With RingCentral, you’re not alone and we’re here for you every step of the way. Say hello to growing your business today.

Originally published Feb 14, 2022, updated Dec 30, 2022

Work together from anywhere with messaging, video conferencing, and phone calls—all in a single platform.

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