Measuring Office Vibes in a Remote Work Environment


Office Vibes

Have you ever entered a workspace and immediately thought, “wow, this seems like a really nice place to work”? That feeling you’re experiencing is the office vibe.

This general positive feeling is produced by a team working together in a friendly atmosphere. So, how do you create (and sustain!) this type of environment in a remote setup?

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A simple and incredibly broad answer to this complicated question is – make sure your employees are happy. Have you ever thought about that? Are the people you work with happy and well? At Appsilon – we consistently ask them.

  1. How do you ask a difficult question and get an honest answer?
  2. Why are we doing it?
  3. What have we found out so far?
  4. How do we move forward?
  5. Conclusion

How do you ask a difficult question and get an honest answer?

Are you happy? It’s not an easy question to answer. Some people’s immediate reaction might always be to say yes. Others might feel like their happiness, or lack thereof is not something they should discuss at work. That is why we use a tool called Officevibe. 

Firstly, Officevibe is an anonymous survey, which makes people more willing to speak openly. As not all team members are comfortable discussing issues they may have in a 1:1 conversation or providing constructive feedback to their managers, we felt an online, anonymous questionnaire would be the best approach. 

Secondly, Officevibe measures and tracks complex issues of happiness and work satisfaction through a series of simple questions (e.g., “Do you have the flexibility to take time off when you need to?” or “Do you enjoy the work that you do?”). By asking various types of such questions, phrased in different ways – you get a better chance of receiving an accurate assessment of the situation.

Each week, all Appsilon team members fill out such short online surveys, which gives them a safe space to express their feelings and provides all of us with an assessment of where we are as a group in terms of our overall wellness, happiness, and work-life balance.

Why are we doing it?

We want our team to be happy and enjoy the work they are doing. Yet, happiness and work satisfaction fluctuate, depending on circumstances. And as teams grow, it becomes harder and harder to know how everybody is doing. And knowing how people are, what their stress levels are, and issues they are struggling with is a key to a happy, healthy team.

Additionally, it is much harder to gauge the office atmosphere and general well-being of the team in a remote setting. Without the serendipitous encounters in the office and informal chats by the water cooler or coffee machine, we need to make space for such conversations to happen.

And as it might be hard for an individual to speak out during office meetings about difficulties they are facing, it is much easier for all of us to discuss general happiness and wellness scores. Once we notice a drop in general happiness levels – we can then analyze it together and look for both causes and solutions.

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What have we found out so far?

One of the metrics measured in our Officevibe is work-life balance. And even though it is a scientifically proven phenomenon that women do more housework than men (learn more here) – we were surprised to see this depicted in our team’s score. In March 2021, when the pandemic was still taking a toll on everybody’s work-life balance, this metric among women working in Appsilon was as low as 4.2/10, compared to 6.8/10 for men. Thankfully, it has gotten better compared to the previous month for both genders, with an increase of 1.3-1.5 of work-life balance points. 

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Happiness measurement also showed us that the Team Managers and Tech Teams Members were going through a tough period, with their stress level increasing and happiness at work decreasing.

How do we move forward?

Knowing that something is going on is the first step. The next one is to diagnose the reasons through one-on-ones, in-depth surveys, and team retro workshops. Once we have a deeper understanding, we apply a solution and see if it moves the needle.

At Appsilon, we believe that open and honest conversation provides the best results. As a management team, we might be able to spot there is an issue. But the challenge here is to find the cause and ultimately resolution. So, we discuss the scores as a team, to identify the spots of bother and find solutions – together. 

Secondly, just being aware of some differences – like the work-life balance division between men and women – can help with the situation. Not only in the office but also at home – empowering those who struggle to ask for help, encouraging men to take on more responsibilities at home, or helping women feel less pressured to do so much. We acknowledge those differences and try to work out ways in which we can help as a company.

Conclusion

We found measuring office vibes to be an extremely useful management tool. Improving employee wellness improves productivity, quality of work and makes us all much happier in the workplace – remote or otherwise. And for us at Appsilon, that’s what really matters. 

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