Bloomberg Law
Free Newsletter Sign Up
Bloomberg Law
Advanced Search Go
Free Newsletter Sign Up

HR Buzz: Feeling Distant • Fear at Work? • Above the Fray

March 29, 2019, 10:45 AM

Sure, it’s great you can write that report in your jammies, but a majority of remote workers say there are hassles in trying to collaborate and connect from off-site. That’s from a new study on the digital workplace. Check out this and other stories in this week’s HR Buzz, what you need to know about workplace trends, surveys, and reports.

Lonely Remote Workers

It’s not just the doughnuts and bowls of candy that remote employees are missing out on. They’re also not getting all the information they need, are being left out of meetings, and have trouble accessing documents. That’s from Igloo’s 2019 State of the Digital Workplace. The company is a provider of digital workplace solutions.

The majority of remote workers (69 percent) said they encounter challenges they don’t have when they’re at the office. The culprits: “decentralized systems and inconsistent applications,” Igloo reports.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Challenges could be solved by better technology solutions and a “digitally centric work culture,” Igloo says. And one way to help employees feel connected to work and one another—whether they’re remote or onsite—is to create a digital breakroom, including a dedicated electronic spot for socializing, where workers can share photos, updates, and other content not related to work, the company said.

That might take a little marketing to get buy-in, Igloo says. “Consider setting a theme, conversation or a contest each month” to generate excitement and get workers to look at the space as a “digital whiteboard,” the company says, maybe even making it a little more interesting by awarding prizes like gift cards to employees who get creative.

Who telecommutes? At least once a week, 45 percent of entry-level workers do, 61 percent of managers do, and 80 percent of staff at the director and above level do. Ironically, the higher the level in the organization, the greater the need for easier collaboration, Igloo said.

“More senior employees require access to secure documents, info, and people to make decisions,” Igloo reports. “Without a modern digital workplace, they encounter more hiccups and hurdles on a daily basis.”

As for the HR department, 61 percent of these professionals work remotely at least once a week, with 76 percent saying it presents challenges. And 65 percent of HR folks collaborate with three or more departments on a typical project, “creating the potential for information silos” if the interaction isn’t as seamless as possible, Igloo said.

Handling Fears of Workplace Violence

Most U.S. workers (71 percent) feel safe at work, SHRM reports, but one in seven worry about workplace violence. Almost half (48 percent) of HR professionals say their organizations have experienced some type of incident, according to a new report from the Society for Human Resource Management.

Seventy-one percent of employees and 86 percent of HR practitioners said they know what to do if an incident occurs at their workplace. About half (49 percent) of workers say their organization has provided training on how to respond to an incident of violence.

“Companies and HR should and must do more to make employees feel safe at work,” Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., president and CEO of SHRM, said. “This data shows we have a lot of work to do in terms of security, prevention, training and response.”

SHRM based its report on a survey of 545 employees and 1,416 of its members.

There’s No Place Like Om and Paris

What’s the difference between mindfulness and resilience? It’s sort of like the difference between Paris and France.

Mindfulness, or being aware of your thoughts without judgment, is an aspect of resilience, according to Boston-based platform meQuilibrium. Resilience is a “broad set of skills,” including mindfulness. While mindfulness, or self-awareness, can reduce stress and somatic symptoms and improve sleep, resilience “equips employees to mitigate the experience of stress and positively adapt to change” and be better at problem-solving, the company says.

Resilient employees are 31 percent more engaged, have 60 percent less burnout, and are 30 percent more likely to recommend their employer as a great place to work, says meQuilibrium. Those stats come from the company’s validation studies.

“Every company we talk to is going through some sort of mass structural transformation,” Pam Boiros, the company’s chief marketing officer, said. “Companies that want to survive will need their employees to be resilient.”

Today’s new normal of constant change puts tremendous stress on employees, but resilience training helps to stop the cycle of “anxiety, anger, and aggressiveness,” Boiros said.

The company’s training begins with an online assessment that provides the individual employee with a “meQ” personality resilience score of 0 to 100, based on factors such as emotion control, focus, and mindfulness. “We look at the whole person, physical and emotional and create a “personalized learning journey to strengthen resilience,” she said.

Especially as the workplace becomes more diverse, we all need more empathy. “You have to have empathy to see things from other guy or gal’s point of view,” she said. And better communication skills (“What I think I hear you saying is ...”) “makes everyone much more engaged and able to handle change,” she said. More on resilience at meQuilibrium’s “Activating Your Talent With Resilience.

Check back every Friday to get your latest HR Buzz.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cathleen O'Connor Schoultz in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Martha Mueller Neff at