It is possible and essential to multiply the moments of conviviality between colleagues, even when working remotely.
As a factor of individual well-being and collective efficiency, conviviality is an essential component of life at work. For employees, it is an important part of the feeling of satisfaction. For organizations, it is the key to keeping teams running smoothly and increasing their performance levels.
But what happens when you telecommute? As this organizational model is becoming more and more popular (to varying degrees, it is true, depending on the company), the question deserves to be asked. How to make conviviality a key practice of the organization when employees operate remotely? This is a subject that is not only limited to organizations that practice fully remote jobs.
It is true that in the vast majority of cases, employees are in favor of teleworking because of the advantages it brings. As an OECD document from 2020 shows, more than 80% of employees cite reduced commuting expenses, greater focus on tasks, and a pool of additional free time as the main benefits.
Telework: the fear of being isolated
But, conversely, employees also express fears. At the top of the list of concerns is the lack of social interaction (almost 90%) of respondents. By not sharing a workspace with colleagues, teleworkers may feel excluded from the organization and lose their sense of belonging.
However, this feeling is by nature subjective. As Dominique Lhuilier, a researcher in work psychology at Cnam, notes, "In telecommuting, one is alone at home, and yet one can feel connected to others. Conversely, you can be part of a team and feel isolated.
Remote jobs do not condemn employees to isolation. On the contrary, teleworking teams can build strong bonds to create and preserve those moments of togetherness that are so important.
In the office, this would mean a real lunch break between colleagues or the creation of real spaces for discussion and relaxation. At a distance, the principle is the same. Conviviality is first and foremost about sharing and sharing means connecting. This is why, in remote locations, it is imperative to encourage social interaction. Informal communication must be encouraged. Hence the importance of opening occasional channels (for example, a #fun channel on Slack) for less work-oriented discussions.
Online movie nights
In an article dated 05/27/2021, the Huffington Post brings the testimonies of teleworkers who have used their imagination to create these indispensable conviviality bubbles. Tom, a work-study student at a public bank, tells how each week the teams had to complete a challenge. "We had to take pictures of famous works of art," he says.
For her part, Maureen, an aerospace employee, explains that "between employees, we organize 'online cinema' evenings, 'quiz nights', 'Colleagues got talent', just like the TV show 'France’s got talent’. Finally, Alexandre, a junior buyer in Grenoble, talks about the importance of online coffee rooms on Teams and the organization of online sports sessions.
Far from being opposed, remote work and conviviality can perfectly go together. It is now up to managers and employees to co-create these indispensable moments in the life of a company.