The connectedness of a workplace refers to the interpersonal relationships between employees. Meaningful, high-quality relationships are the foundation of effective teamwork and collaboration, trust, psychological safety and social inclusiveness.
After improving substantially by 2.5 points from 2019 to 2020, the connectedness index score remained fairly steady at 69.6 out of 100 in 2021. Surging technology investment since COVID-19 emerged has transformed our ways of working and helped more people connect virtually than ever before. That virtual connection is linked to human connection, with increasing numbers of workers finding it easy to communicate with their colleagues when working remotely (up 9.0 percentage points to 19.0%).
Barriers such as moving to a remote workforce, wearing face masks and strict social distancing measures have seen some industries and cohorts experience a reduction in their connectedness score, while others have improved. Young people in particular (aged 18-24 years) are feeling less connected to their colleagues as the longevity of the pandemic continues to take its toll (a drop of 1.3 points to 69.0). At the same time, workers aged 25-34 years reported improved connectedness (up 1.3 points to 70.0).
People working in non-profit organisations also experienced a substantial drop in connectedness, falling 2.4 points to a low of 69.2. This is potentially due to many non-profit organisations experiencing strong demand for their services and increased workloads, often without increased funding or access to increased resourcing. When workplaces face these types of pressures, the primary focus is often on ‘getting the job done’. This can come at a cost to workers, with fewer opportunities to build meaningful professional relationships and a sense of belonging.
What can you do to improve connectedness?
Providing opportunities for workers to foster a sense of connectedness and belonging is vital. Here are some practical steps you can take to improve connectedness in your workplace:
Include time in your team meetings to check in with how people are feeling, offering space for people to share stories and experiences.
Bring workers from different teams or workplaces together to work on initiatives.
Encourage the sharing of ideas or working collaboratively on a business challenge or opportunity.
Identify people who are ‘positive energisers’ and find opportunities to leverage their skills and experience.
SuperFriend’s Connection Hub
Access resources on how to promote connection in your workplace (even in a virtual environment!)