When I first embarked on my freelance career, I hadn’t given much thought to a happy work environment or what that meant to me. But by quickly encountering the good and the bad, I’ve discovered the incredible impact that a positive work culture has on the workers and the company.

I like to think that I am now quite good at sniffing out the kind of teams that I want to work with: one made up of likeminded individuals who share similar passions and values. Happiness in the work place, I have learned, is one of the most important pillars of success—not only for my own peace of mind and career growth, but for the company’s success, as well.

Research shows that happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees. What does this mean? Happy employees are an asset to organizations, which is why companies continuously invest in creating a positive work culture. But how companies are doing this is beginning to change alongside the evolving workforce. 

From office to digital

The workplace is gradually migrating from office to digital, with more and more companies turning to remote workers. In fact, 16% of all global companies are now fully remote and 52% of employees around the world work from home at least one day a week, says The Global Sate of Remote Work

Remote work has introduced some pretty awesome perks for both the company and the worker: flexibility, reduced expenses, improved productivity and efficiency, and much more. But it has also introduced different challenges than what people may be accustomed to in a traditional office environment. 

With so many people working remotely, there is now a new expectation for organizations to foster a happy work environment for their workers spread across the globe. And this is no easy feat. It sometimes feels like it was only yesterday that happiness in the workplace became a priority. Now, companies are searching for ways to create a warm work environment for employees based in various time zones, oftentimes with no common meeting place. 

Sounds impossible, right? Wrong!

Fostering work happiness – remotely

As a remote worker, I have found that the key to happiness in the digital workspace is strong communication and engagement. These are the two essential ingredients from which stem other factors and initiatives that can boost happiness in a company. 

I know from firsthand experience just how challenging it can be to ensure strong communication when one of your team members is six hours ahead of you and your project manager is just waking up as you are preparing for bed. Nevertheless, it is essential to make sure that the entire team is on the same page, whether it be for a specific project or for general company news. 

Establish a community platform

One of the best ways to enhance communication in a company is by establishing a shared platform where everyone can communicate. Some of the most popular platforms include ezTalks Cloud Meeting, Yammer, and Slack.

Slack is a great online workspace to keep employees connected around the world

I personally use Slack and have found it quite effective in maintaining constant communication with every member of my team. Slack allows users to create different channels designated for specific topics and conversations, which is perfect for organizing different project communication or internal company work. Whichever platform a company opts for, it’s important to choose one that allows for easy communication with the entire team. 

Once a company establishes a method of communication, they should encourage regular conversations and engagement among their workers. As a remote worker, it can be very easy to feel isolated and unaware of what is going on in the company. Regular communication not only establishes trust between the brand and the remote worker, but it makes the worker feel included and a part of the company, at least to some degree. 

Have some fun

There’s no better way to boost employee happiness than by having a little fun on the job. I have seen teams have a lot of fun on shared platforms, such as Slack, or even through social media channels. Take advantage of one of the community platforms out there and spark up conversations that are more hobby-related than work.

Start a digital book club or a conversation about your favorite sports teams. Invite your remote team to share pictures of where they’re working on that day or launch friendly competitions to enhance remote worker engagement.

The possibilities are endless and having a remote team made up of people based all over the world can make for some creative, intriguing activities and conversations.   

Instill company pride 

On the left is Bruno Bianchi, one of the co-founders of the housing platform Spotahome. You’ll almost always see him sporting this t-shirt with pride!

One of the perks of working in a traditional office environment is the company bling—pens, coffee mugs, t-shirts, etc. This is definitely something that many remote workers tend to miss out on. More importantly, there is usually a lack of overall company pride. After all, it’s a bit tricky to feel company pride when the worker may struggle to truly feel a part of the company in the first place.

But companies can boost engagement and company pride by looking at their workers’ remote locations as assets. In this modern age of social media marketing, it’s easier now than ever before to spread news and connect with people across the world. Organizations can incentivize their remote workers to share company social media posts or to post a relevant picture that tags the brand on their individual accounts.

In my own experience, I have found that some brands who are entirely remote will send out company merchandise to their workers around the world and encourage them to post pictures with the bling. Not only does merchandise and social media help companies boost worker engagement and pride, but they also help the company spread the word far and wide about their brand. 

Happy workers, happy company

Happiness is now an essential component in the workforce that improves the quality of employee output and a business’s overall success.

When employees are happy, companies have a better chance at thriving. And as more workers and brands turn to this new-age digital workspace, companies will continue to evolve and adapt to meet the expectations of a positive online work environment.