The workplace is evolving. The “9-5” is being replaced with a new, open atmosphere that promotes productivity, efficiency, and collaboration. Over the last couple of decades, workplaces have shifted from hierarchical to horizontal. And, unlike employees of older generations, today’s workforce is motivated by more than just a paycheck. Younger generations are motivated by respect, diverse experiences, and innovation. Interactive workplaces embrace a new style of learning, and implementing them increases creativity, motivation, and engagement in the workplace. However, these modern, remote workplaces are only successful when employees can interact.
What Is an Interactive Workplace?
Upon hearing the term, some might imagine a huge open space office with vibrant colors and loud patterns, funky furniture, employees mingling by a pool table or crowded around a large screen wearing VR headsets–and maybe a free-to-use snack bar to the left? While these imaginative types of offices do actually exist outside of movies, an interactive workplace doesn’t necessarily need to have colorful decor or odd furniture at all.
An interactive workplace at its core is a “space” that caters to the different ways that people learn and work. They allow people to interact with more content, share feedback, and ask questions. Innovation and employee collaboration are at the heart of an interactive workplace, and businesses don’t need to spend a fortune on renovations to achieve it.
How to create an interactive remote workplace:
Recreate Your Environment
Whether your company is large or small, designing a remote work environment that promotes interaction is possible–and beneficial for the whole team. Executing “open spaces” provides employees a community environment; they can trade ideas, share opinions, and work together. This type of environment produces happier employees and a more positive environment overall.
Open and spacious, these interactive business environments attract motivated staff, encourage employee collaboration, and maximize space efficiency. Creating workspaces that are functional and allow for increased social collaboration has been shown to boost overall morale–and productivity. Employers can integrate various functional work environments into their offices, such as areas for personal space, concentration spaces where staff can get away from noise and distractions, collaboration areas, and social spaces.
Having designated spaces encourage people to move around, and take necessary breaks between heavy workloads to allow their minds and bodies a chance to recharge before diving back in. Allowing employees to choose how and where they work creates an environment that caters to many diverse needs, resulting in healthier and happier staff. However, all of this can be done remotely by implementing a virtual, interactive work environment.
Believe it or not, you don’t actually need to redecorate the office or hire an architect to create a better environment for your employees. With many people working from home these days, employers have access to many awesome new technologies. These technologies have been created with chief goals in mind: increasing remote interaction and collaboration, and assisting employees in learning in the way that’s most optimal for them. Large and small businesses can implement features like smart meeting rooms; video chats; and workplace groups where members can post, comment, and discuss all together (or in teams). eLearning and Gamification platforms are remarkable tools for boosting engagement and making employees feel empowered, entertained, motivated, and rewarded for reaching their goals.
In an open environment, business leaders are more easily able to identify problems within their workforce, and can then respond by implementing systems to increase daily positive interactions. A “system” can be something as simple as offering feedback to employees–letting them know that their hard work is noticed, and giving necessary positive reinforcement. Or, employ more involved methods, such as hosting events or team-building activities to offer employees some extra motivation and incentive.
Facilitate a Positive Setting
Creating a positive company culture and work environment leads to positive feelings, which are infectious. Employees who enjoy their work are not only more loyal to their company, but on a daily basis, a positive mood will be infectious to everyone they interact with. As a bonus, your consumers or clients will identify this positive feeling, enhancing everyone’s experience.
Try simple actions like taking a moment to ask how someone’s weekend was, holding meetings in a team setting, or consulting one-on-one. You’ll offer employees a chance to share their experiences, challenges, and interests. Leaders can then take this information to see what’s working (or what isn’t), and decide how to further facilitate positive interactions among their team.
Utilize Interactive Tools
Many new technologies have popped up that can enhance company morale, facilitate learning, and improve organization. Collaboration tools help employees to stay connected from anywhere. Interactive learning tools foster creativity and improved decision-making, helping everyone stay engaged. Some of the best collaboration and interactive learning software host various benefits and implement multiple tools.
Gamification platforms turn work into fun by redefining mundane tasks into reachable goals, turning projects into friendly competitions. Gamification allows employees to see their progress and what awaits them if they continue to perform well. These platforms encourage employees to strive for greater heights, incentivizing their responsibilities and keep them feeling challenged and motivated. Also a great aid in team building, gamification platforms disguise work by turning them into fun activities or challenges. Employers can offer real rewards for work done well. Encouraging a happier spirit and healthy work drive for employees makes them more loyal to the business and can increase employee retention overall.
Virtual team building activities provide communication and reinforce a shared team identity. Especially helpful for remote teams who are separated and may feel isolated, these activities help employees feel supported, re-supply engagement, and assist in building trust. Icebreaker activities, games, trivia, and personalized WFH care packages can bring people together and reinstate that team feeling in employees–no matter where they log in to work.
Interactive training is a beneficial style of learning many employers are picking up due to its many benefits. Interactive training and onboarding technologies are more appealing to employees because they offer interesting ways of learning new information, allowing learners to become more engaged, motivated, and rewarded through learning experiences. Because everyone learns differently, this type of training is invaluable to businesses. An interactive approach to training recreates the workplace in a fun way that encourages learners to be more creative, have fun while they’re absorbing information, and feel stimulated as they connect with tasks emotionally. Employees who are trained via interactive learning tools will retain information more efficiently, end up working more productively, and tend to enjoy the process much more.
Additional Tips for Creating an Interactive Workplace
Any employer should aim to boost employee engagement. This makes teams more productive, less likely to make mistakes, and more efficient overall. You know the look: the glazed-over expressions you see during long monotonous presentations. Employers and employees both lose out when engagement is lacking. Employees want to feel motivated and positive while working, and when we’re engaged, we’re learning more and working at a higher quality.
The following tips are a small but surefire way to create a more interactive, collaborative workplace (without having to buy a pool table):
- Instead of banning the use of phones, make tech work for you by turning smartphones and tablets into learning tools. Utilize personal device-compatible streaming and learning technology.
- If it’s essential that employees grasp key takeaways from a presentation, turn it into a contest or trivia game. Encourage employees to team up together and work against other teams; this helps to build bonds and encourages information sharing at the same time.
- Get to know your employees. Each person has a different personality, behaviors, and communication preferences. One fun, interactive way to get to know your staff is to have them take personality quizzes. The Myers-Brigs test is a popular tool for understanding your staff or peers more deeply. The Four Tendencies test looks at how an individual responds to expectations, and understanding tendencies can assist in better decision making. Many tests are available online and can be used to learn more about one another, and add some spice to a dull workday. Participating in fun, original activities can reinvigorate staff and bring the mood up in a snap.
- Not everyone learns in the same way, so offering multiple methods of sharing information can help ensure the data being presented is understood. Offer video tutorials, as well as written packets, and if possible offer hands-on teaching too.
- Use mobile technology to send out surveys and polls to your staff to gain a better understanding of the workplace from their perspective. Some people aren’t comfortable speaking up in front of an audience and may be anxious talking to supervisors. It can be useful to allow employees to tell you privately or even anonymously how much they already know, what they hope to achieve, where more attention is needed, etc. Allowing employees to speak with their higher-ups through written (online) communication allows employers to address issues that others may be thinking about.
Invest in Happiness
Society tends to focus on the clients or customers, but a business’s most essential asset is the people who keep the business going day after day. Providing a space that keeps its people inspired, engaged, healthy and happy should be of utmost importance to every business because the benefits aren’t only for the employees, but the clients–and the business itself.
Fun, unconventional workspaces employing modern technology and ideas are becoming more popular around the globe. If you look up the top places to work, you will find a list of businesses that have adapted this forward way of thinking. The reason being: an interactive workplace facilitates self-motivated, more creatively inspired employees who look forward to coming to work. While most companies will not spring for a spa room or in-house cafe, adapting even small changes to encourage workplace interaction can make a big difference in an employee’s experience.
It seems that the previously unrealistic idea of ‘doing what you love’ is now an attainable reality. Younger generations are more likely to strive for the best work environment possible, unlike previous generations who were more comfortable with sacrifice and traditional methods–whether or not they were propitious. The benefits of interactive workplaces are proven. Business owners know that staying up to date is key to maintaining success. Modern workspaces reflect modern culture, and interactive workspaces are now viewed as a long-term investment. When employees love being at work, they’ll work more productively and more often. Business owners retain loyal employees, while clients and customers are exposed to genuinely happy staff who work better for them because they love what they do. Everyone wins.
A Better Workspace for All
People are beginning to reimagine their lives, incorporating their goals, and desires into their work life as much as their personal life. Work is where we spend the majority of our waking life, and considering just how valuable time is, it’s not too crazy that people wish to enjoy the work they do and make the most out of each day. When happier workers create more productively, make fewer errors, and company culture is all-around positive and constantly improving, one can argue that it is vital.
By choosing to implement one of the many interactive technologies, or environments as a long-term investment to better your workplace, you’re creating a space for employees to trade ideas, collaborate, and work as a team. What you get is a positive experience for all.