With so many of us working remotely these days due to the COVID-19 pandemic, connections with co-workers feel that much more meaningful. I’m one of those people working from home, and the thing I miss most right now is seeing my Plus team every day in the office.
Nothing can fully replace that face-to-face connection. But while we’re distanced from each other, we can all make an effort to maintain these relationships as best as possible. Video chats. Phone calls. Emails. They’re all better than no communication at all. And these connections can be part of a mentally healthy approach to the pandemic.
This is especially important for business leaders and managers, who set the tone for the rest of a company. If the boss has gone radio silent, what will inspire other employees to stay in touch?
When it comes to employees on assignment or in one stage of a relocation or another, this communication can be a vital lifeline during a lonely time. We recently published tips on supporting mobile employees during COVID-19, and “reaching out” is our first suggestion. Being isolated is hard enough when you’re in a familiar location, but for employees who might be somewhere new, the feeling of isolation can greatly intensify.
Making an effort to reach out is all well and good, but effective communication from a distance can be a challenge. We pick up so much from body language and tone, but both are much harder (if not impossible) to detect through virtual channels.
The article below does a nice job of looking at how to improve this communication. Whether interacting with someone who used to sit one desk away from you or an employee halfway across the world, positive connections are so important right now.
In real conversation, the feedback you get is immediate. People are nodding along as you speak. You ask a question, and they respond immediately. In this era of social distancing, it is hard to get these social cues. Low-bandwidth internet can make it hard to catch the tone of voice or the facial expressions of people you’re talking to. You can’t see them all on the phone. And a query you send out by email might take hours (or even days) to elicit a response.