“Allo, Allo!” Isn’t Easy; But Why You Need It More Now

We, humans, are social animals, and we thrive when we engage with one another. Our regular office interactions with colleagues, customers, vendors, even those not work-related, are often stimulating and have a positive impact on us.  These provide us with a sense of support and well-being while providing us with many feel-good moments.

When we work remotely, though, these connections and interactions are mostly virtual, far infrequent and…

Decreased in-person interactions affect us negatively

Decreased in-person interactions – as opposed to the virtual interactions that we engage in when working remotely – can leave us feeling isolated and disconnected. Specifically, they:

  • Leave us feeling cut-off and consequently stressed outs
  • Decrease creativity because of a decrease in external stimulation
  • Lead to confusion about roles and goals
  • Cause a sense of ambiguity about work
  • Reduce the much-needed de-stressors like breaks, chats office humour that work colleagues provide

Science seems to confirm this. Research by Ravi S. Gajendran and David A. Harrison from Pennsylvania State University found that telecommuters’ relationships with colleagues generally suffered if they worked remotely three or more days each week.

It’s not really our fault

While it is easier while you’re in the office, connecting with team members becomes an effort while we work remotely. Also, those ‘passing by.” Hello”’, or ‘what’s up, buddy?’ interactions are hard to come by.

Additionally, the time that you would need to allocate towards conducting a virtual interaction would be many times longer than when you connect face-to-face. Plus, with virtual connections, one must sync one’s calendar with that of a colleague.

Little wonder then that we tend to ignore this critical aspect of our workplace.

But workplace communication is vital

We’ve already mentioned how communicating with colleagues contributes to our well-being. However, it is also key to coordination and goal achievement. So, take the effort and interact with your team members. Here then are…

Five tips to help you stay connected when working from home

  1. Set-up a routine – Allot a fixed time per day – to share information or simply to chat with colleagues
  2. Use multimodal communication – Make it a point to connect as a work necessity via phone and sometimes via video chat. We connect best when we hear and see one another
  3. Talk regularly with your reporting managers – Have direct one-on-ones with your managers about productivity, progress, meeting KPI’s and operational matters
  4. Celebrate – Make it a point to celebrate individual and group achievements and any positive company-related news and updates
  5. Make time for fun

Here are some ways to keep the fun element going with your co-workers

  • Start your day with a general “hello” with your colleagues, just enquiring about them as you log in
  • Set-up and chat with team members while on a virtual coffee break, just like you would while working from an office
  • Lunch with your usual workplace lunch partner. A show-and-tell of what you are eating and maybe even sharing the recipe help
  • Once in a way, aim for a group break so that you can interact with your immediate team as a group, just like you would while at work

In Conclusion

It is harder to communicate with team members when working remotely. However, decreased engagement with our colleagues can affect the organisation and us. So, make time for workplace communication.

You do not need a reason to say a “hello”, just a little effort.

Remember, we are social animals, and strong interpersonal relationships make us feel good about ourselves too.

Done taking this lesson? Please take the accompanying quiz.

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