What is Team Empathy & How to Build Them in a Hybrid Work Environment?
Being a manager is no easy task, especially when you have to organize different working schedules and supervise how your company’s teams work. However, the employees’ job is not easy either, and they can suffer from a lot of stress and anxiety due to their assignments or personal problems. That anxiety can make them burnout and lower their productivity and work performance, so to avoid that, you need to build team empathy within your workers.
Most people think that everyone should mind their own businesses and work individually without caring about how their co-workers are doing when working, but that is the worst you can do if you are part of a team. Everyone’s job counts to improve productivity and come up with better ideas, so letting the other team members down and not understanding them is detrimental to the company in the long run.
As a manager, you should care about your employees’ well-being and create an environment where all teams work together whether workplace etiquette and collaborate to make the best job possible, improving their productivity. Having empathy in your workplace is the key to a successful business, so keep reading this article to learn everything you need to know about team empathy and its perks.
What Is Team Empathy at Work?
You need to know what empathy is to understand what team empathy is. Empathy is the ability to understand other people’s feelings regardless if you have gone through their struggles or not, so we could describe team empathy as a comfortable work environment where employees care about their team members and understand their feelings.
Many workers complain about how their managers or bosses don’t understand their problems and take them for granted, making them uncomfortable with their jobs. With the current pandemic, we have to value the employees that stay with us since losing them represents a huge loss to our companies.
Building team empathy not only prevents your employees from quitting but also makes them care more about their work and improving their performance. Regardless of the situation, doing everything on your own can be stressful, so knowing that you have a team that supports you and understands your situation is priceless and encourages you to do the same with them.
What Are the Benefits of Team Empathy?
Before learning how to build an empathetic workplace, we have to know the importance of empathy in the workplace first. Being empathetic brings many health benefits to you and improves your mood, being a considerable boost to your mental health and improving your healthy work relationship with your peers. Applying that to your daily job is even better since it works as a team bonding activity that makes everyone appreciate each other and help with their job struggles. However, if you are not so sure about how this can improve your job environment, here are some of the main benefits of team empathy in the workplace:
As a manager, it’s in your best interest to maintain your company’s work quality and boost productivity. Building team empathy at work among your employees can be the thing that determines if that productivity boost happens or not, since it’s proven that working in an empathetic environment makes people work better than they would under usual conditions.
That’s not because your employees do a poor job under normal conditions, but because people tend to feel better when they notice they have a positive impact on other people. However, that’s not the only way this strategy provides a significant productivity boost since it also helps your workers to get their assignments done quicker.
Workers tend to be shy when they start in a new company, keeping themselves from asking for help when they don’t understand an assignment or are having trouble with something. Developing an empathetic environment in your company makes your workers know that they can ask for help and collaborate with each other.
Lowers Office Gossips and Arguments
One of the benefits of hybrid work model is that it lowers office distractions such as office gossip or arguments between employees, but it doesn’t eliminate them entirely. When being part of a team, everyone is prone to have a problem or misunderstanding with other team members, and create a toxic virtual work environment but not knowing how to handle those situations can represent a setback to the company’s productivity.
Everyone has their problems and opinions, so it’s almost impossible to remove the possibilities of having arguments and misunderstandings but developing team empathy reduces its negative impact. That happens because it prepares your employees to listen to what the other has to say and understand their opinions.
Doing that is excellent for your company since it not only prevents uncomfortable situations but also makes arguments and discussions to become new project ideas.
Makes Your Company More Desirable for Employees
When looking for a job, everyone wants their new workplace to be a safe office space, productive, and comfortable for them. That’s why hearing that a manager mistreats their employees and demands things that they can’t do, keeps them from asking for a job position in that company. However, if they hear the company provides an empathetic environment where teams collaborate to do the best job possible, their interest in the company increases.
Businesses must have a decent reputation since their competitors can take advantage of a poor image to take employees from them and outgrow them. Having people talking about how productive and healthy your work environment and positive work culture is, represents a significant growth in your company’s reputation, making more people want to work with you each day and expanding your talent pool.
What to Do as a Manager to Generate Team Empathy?
It’s unusual that employees create a team empathy environment just by themselves, so you have to help them generate situations that make that happen. As a manager, you have the tools you need to organize all kinds of activities, and since most of your workers are remote working, you don’t have to spend a penny doing it. It’s not easy to come up with the best team virtual bonding ideas by yourself, so here are some things you can do to generate team empathy in the workplace.
Reward and Compliment your Employees Work
It can be disappointing for employees to work hard for an assignment or a project and then feel taken for granted by their boss. Complimenting your workers when they do a good job is essential to develop team empathy since that makes them feel more part of the company and encourages them to do a better job. It also boosts employee self-esteem.
You can reward them with additional payment at the end of the month or gift vouchers since even if that seems small, it contributes to making your workers feel better with their job. Showing that you care about them and are willing to reward quality work also creates healthy competition between your workers, making them all work better to get your acknowledgement and rewards.
Rewarding them with both financial and non-financial incentives when they do a good job is not the only important thing regarding their job performance, though. If you think they could do better or if they made several mistakes, try to tell them what to improve while being empathetic and kind to them, since hearing negative words only jeopardizes their work performance.
Ask Them for Feedback
Asking your employees to tell you how they feel about their job and any concerns they have is optimal to make them feel they can talk to you and their co-workers. However, individually asking them can take a lot of your time, so the best you can do is organize feedback for managers sessions where everyone talks about their concerns and issues regarding their work and debates about what’s best for the company.
Those feedback sessions can be weekly or monthly, and you can use them to tell them which things you need them to improve about their work and advise them on how to do specific tasks. Since you have a hybrid work model, you can have these meetings online, so it’s easier for everyone to assist and listen to what everyone has to say, but make sure that effective employee feedback doesn’t become argumentative and stays in a healthy and calm environment.
Allow Them to Have Flexible Working Conditions
Working from home provides excellent advantages to your workers, improving their productivity and work performance. That’s because it gives them more freedom to work by their own rules and schedules, making their work experience something fresher and more satisfying. However, if you allow them to work under more flexible conditions regardless if they are on the remote team or the onsite team, you can boost the perks even more.
Flexitime is one of the things you can try to have more flexible working conditions since it means letting your employees organize and work on a productive work from home schedule they design but under predetermined working hours. Applying that lets your workers know that you trust them and care for their well-being, promoting their mental health and work productivity and making them more prone to accept working overtime and deal with work emergencies.
Regardless of the benefits it gives to your company, be careful with the freedom you give to your employees regarding schedules because giving them more liberties than you should make them relax and turn in their assignments late. That strategy only works if your team is responsible and accepts that they can meet all their deadlines without any issues, so you have to let them know that.
Recommend the Best Items for Their Home Office
As mentioned before, there are many benefits for the ones who work from home; some of them improve their back health and prevent neck and back pain. Regardless of that, they can’t take advantage of those perks if they don’t know how to do it or don’t acknowledge the benefits they have at hand, so you can help them do it.
Choosing the items for your workstation is optimal to boost your productivity, especially if you go for ergonomic products, since they protect you from back pain and correct your posture. Help your employees choose the best ergonomic chairs and smart desks for them to boost their productivity as much as they can.
Doing that is an excellent way of promoting team empathy since you’d be opening a communication channel where your employees can talk about their choices on ergonomic products and discuss which ones are better for them. That makes them acknowledge that you care about their well-being and desire that they work in comfortable conditions.
Good Practices a Manager can Learn from Building Team Empathy
Promoting team empathy in your company and learning how to show empathy at work not only bring benefits to the employees but also to the managers. That’s because when you make arrangements and organize team bonding activities, you learn a lot from what you are doing to improve the company in other ways. We want you to fully understand what this means, so read some good practices a manager can learn from building team empathy at work.
- How to treat their employees better.
- How to improve their employees’ productivity and thus the company’s productivity.
- How to handle work arguments and resolve miscommunication.
- How to manage work emergencies and office issues in a better way.
It’s imperative that your work environment is a healthy and productive place where workers can discuss their concerns and help each other, and you are the one who can make that happen. If you don’t do it to improve and maintain your good working relationship with your workers, do it because you care about boosting your company’s productivity and work performance, which makes your investments more profitable in the long run.
Using a hybrid work model provides unique benefits by itself, but making an effort to take as much advantage as you can of its possibilities is what makes the difference between a good company and a groundbreaking company. Naturally, every company has different needs and things to address, but following what you read in this article and adapting it to your company’s goals can only bring benefits.
Make sure to set boundaries within your workers, though. Remember, and let them know, that even though they can have an empathetic work environment, it’s still a professional job, so they need to behave like employees and respect you as their boss, and also avoid office burnout. Don’t let flexible working conditions lower work performance, but measure them to take as many advantages as you can from them.