Don’t Lose Touch
Ensuring that you maintain connections with your colleagues if you are mainly working remotely
Since the first lock-down in early 2020 I have been working remotely for almost all the time. Our offices moved locations in 2020 and the commute took a turn for the worse so I asked for a hybrid solution where I would only go into the office occasionally.
On many levels I have adapted well to working from home. My concentration tends to be better, I feel more organised, my diet has improved and I make time to walk at least once every day.
I enjoy my own company and struggle with the general hubbub of an office environment so being on my own is definitely better for me in general.
However, I noticed that I was communicating less and less with those in my time or in the wider company. Much of the time my tasks don’t require collaboration and so I found that unless something specifically cropped up that I needed to check with someone I wasn’t having any contact with them; not just in person but even in writing.
As a result the interactions that I did have felt transactional. I would only speak with colleagues when they wanted something from me or I needed something from them. That doesn’t make for great relationships and is not the way I would usually interact.
I decided I needed to be proactive in remedying the situation.
I started a spreadsheet where I noted the last communication I’d had with someone, who had initiated and what method we’d used. With a bit of conditional formatting I could easily see who it had been longest since I’d been in touch with and I could then choose to reach out to those people either to catch up on an area of shared interest within the business or just to randomly say hello and see how they were doing.
I appreciate to some this might seem a clinical approach, but until a way of randomly encountering your colleagues online is invented (and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are people already working on developing such a thing!) I definitely think it’s better than not doing anything to improve the situation.
Of course this approach might not be right for you, but if you are working in a more isolated way than you used to, at least take the time to be aware of who you are communicating with and who you’ve lost touch with. Then reflect on what you want to do (if anything!) to improve the situation.
I hope this helps you in some way…