Working from home surely has a plethora of advantages but it doesn’t come without it’s own set of challenges, primarily isolation. All the various studies done on working from home came to one universal conclusion: the more we work apart, the less we work together, and this can hinder both our productivity and our sense of community. So how can we mitigate these effects?
As we hunker down safely in our homes to do our work, using emails and texts as our go-to correspondence, we completely lose that “coffee-conversation” that we would have had daily at the office. Losing that face to face contact not only has isolation implications but, perhaps more importantly, those conversations were where we built trust in small ways that we later rely on in big ways when something tough comes up. How do we fix this?
We must create intentional communication that is face to face (video) and one on one—for most of us, this will not be our go-to response. These video calls need only be 15 minutes long, but they must include both work-related, as well as personal, conversation. Be a good listener. Ask open-ended questions like, How? When? Why? It might even help to ask, “What are you struggling with most ‘at work’ and at home? We are all struggling in some way, so we might as well acknowledge the elephant in the room. Listening and validating certainly builds trust, and we can really use trust as our foundation right about now. But these calls aren’t going to schedule themselves…let’s go!
P.S. If you aren’t working from home, this still applies to you as well. Face-to-face video calls are critically important for all of us right now. Start scheduling daily!