For many of our clients, it is connecting with team members that they are missing most as a result of the multiple lockdowns.
This should not be a surprise. Strong social connections make people happier and physically healthier which can of course translate into work performance as well as much better wellbeing for us as individuals. We are built for social engagement, chance connections and human relationships yet screens and online working tend to take a more transactional rather than relational tone. They also allow the less social or introverted of us to become less visible and connected.
If you want to create more connection and more belonging in your culture, in your team, or in your life you can lead the conversation on this. Start by commenting on what you are observing amongst your team. Maybe you need to say you are noticing that the informal connection is really missing over the last weeks and months. Then ask yourself and your team what is it we need to do differently to re establish those connections and explore how creative we can be with this.
The power of this question is twofold. Firstly it creates situational awareness and acknowledges the loss of connection. Secondly it sets the stage for more open conversations and problem solving, and that in itself increases connection.
Research suggests that healthy relationships share three essential elements – understanding, validation and care. You might ask yourself these questions in relation to the people you work with.
Understanding: Are you seeing the complete person, who they are, including strengths, weaknesses, highs and lows? Or have you reduced them to something more two dimensional and predictable?
Validation: Are you validating and valuing the others perspective even if it differs to your own? In a video meeting it is more difficult to hear and be heard literally and metaphorically.
Care: Are you expressing genuine care and warmth and concern for the other, over and above the task?
Creating workplace connection should be a priority right now for the sake of the health of the individual and their performance at work. What can you do create more connection and more belonging in your culture?