How to stay connected while socially distant?
We are all innately social beings. Communication plays a big part in our lives as it is a human need and a fundamental social necessity. We connect with one another to share knowledge, to work together, build relationships, and generate new and innovative ideas.
So how do we stay connected while practicing the art of social distancing? We’ve put together this short piece on some top tips to implement to keep your teams connected.
- Embrace video conferencing
Fortunately for us, technology has enabled us to seamlessly connect with people of our choice anytime anywhere in the world. We now have access to more sophisticated and effective methods of communication. People can interact with one another through electronic mediums and this has paved the way for corporations and businesses to better connect with partners and employees.
It is also always better to have face-to-face interaction, albeit virtually. At times, information can get lost in translation through text messages and emails, and a small problem can grow into a big problem simply because we didn't make the effort to see someone face-to-face to work out a solution.
Now, various video conferencing tools also possess functions such as scheduling meetings, screen sharing, email, chat functionality, voting analytics and many others which make it very convenient for corporations and organisations to carry out daily meetings to stay connected in real-time.
- Check-in on your colleagues
Research conducted by Gallup found that having a friend at work helps you perform better. In the same study, they found that women who have a work buddy are 63 percent more engaged and connected to their work than those who don't have one. Some of the other ways a work friend can help you feel more in tune with the rest of the team are:
They can help you get recognised: Perhaps many of your co-workers don't know how hard you work or how committed you are to the success of the team. Yet, your work buddy probably knows. Whether in a meeting or via team email, a good work friend will be willing to highlight your successes for the rest of the team to see.
Maintain that office “buzz” with a team group chat. Every office has a culture made up of various employee personalities and ways of doing things. When you're not in the office, you may not pick up on who's having a bad week. At the same time, celebrate the small and big wins and recognise your teammates for the effort and hard work that they have put in to ensure that they stay engaged and motivated.
- Engage in a reasonable amount of non-work related chitchat
While it’s incredibly important to focus on results and getting our work done, the success of most businesses today relies on the ability of teams to collaborate, share ideas, and trust one another. The best way to build trust is to get to know your co-workers and develop an emotional connection. We’re not robots; we’re human.
One of the ways productivity can be improved is by focusing on building good relationships. People who like those they work with and for are typically happy and engaged, and thus more good work gets done. By contrast, working in an environment where people don’t know or like each other can be demoralising, and as a result productivity will normally fall. Small amounts of time taken for non-work-related conversations as an investment in our organisation’s culture that will increase productivity in the long term.
The key word is balance. A healthy amount of socialising and chit-chat is beneficial to the overall well-being of the work environment. Work and healthy social engagement, rightly balanced in the workplace, are not opposites but complementary ways to keep your organisation on track and effective.
- Be available and innovative
That being said, many remote workers also can create tailored schedules based on when they are the most productive. Thus, rather than micromanaging your team on when they're getting the work done, focus on what they're consistently achieving and be available to them. Benchmarking success based on results rather than activity levels builds trust and long-term employee satisfaction.
Another way to stay connected with the team and get around this obstacle is to be innovative. When others see you as the source of great ideas and creative solutions to problems, they're more likely to engage with you and keep you involved in discussions.
Challenge the status quo and offer up new ways to make the team more efficient. Make an effort to identify your team's pain points if any, and proactively volunteer to re-engineer it.
BONUS TIP: Create a shared music playlist!
There is something about music that seems to bring us closer to each other and helps us come together as a community. In music, you are basically having a conversation.
Researchers recently discovered that we have a dedicated part of our brain for processing music, supporting the theory that it has a special, important function in our lives. Listening to music and singing together has been shown in several studies to directly impact neuro-chemicals in the brain, many of which play a role in closeness and connection.
Now new research suggests that playing music or singing together may be particularly potent in bringing about social closeness through the release of endorphins. Perhaps that’s why, when you want people to bond, music is a natural resource for making that happen.
Is your business new to working from home?
Facing challenges to keep your team connected? Please feel free to reach out to us to discuss this or any other recruitment related support we can offer.