Meetings are being cancelled, large events put on hold, and the opportunity to personally interact with business colleagues, clients, and coworkers is being interrupted due to COVID-19. No one expected this. Everyone is moving to virtual learning, working from home, and the reality of fewer in-person meetings. The importance of human connection is critical to function and productive interaction and now the rules have changed. Yes, we also live in a virtual world where remote work takes place every day. Studies show that virtual environments require increased attention to communication, sharing of knowledge, and work coordination (1). But what about connection factors that build better teamwork? What about the basic essentials of human interaction and work-related needs like autonomy, competence, and connectedness? (2) Social distancing does not have to lead to social disconnecting.
I work with many virtual teams who may say, “We do this every day. No worries.” And yet, even for those teams, the dynamics of the current situation may require even greater attention to social connection with co-workers to help stay focused and on task. The distractions that will come from the fluid environment created by this health crisis can be expected. Anxieties are high. One of the most important drivers of overall well-being is your work environment. Finding ways to go deeper with your colleagues in each conversation vs. just getting things done will provide the level of connection that we all need as humans. And yet, because of busyness, sometimes the soft skills are not easy to execute in a normal work environment.
Interestingly enough, I have been talking for a few years about the busyness of business. With many working from home, not attending meetings, limiting face-to-face customer interactions, now may be the perfect time to reconnect with each other as humans even in a time when we are to be socially distancing. Over the next FIVE DAYS I will be review StrengthSmart, a framework developed specifically to connect with others on a level that goes beyond just getting things done. Getting to know each other through a strengths-approach can help provide an emotional connection and common language for better understanding how to work both in normal times and now the new normal. Please join me for this important series. And if you want to connect, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Kuo & Yu, 2009.
- Deci & Ryan, 2004.