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Connection in the workplace

Remote working, at least some of the time, has now become a new normal for many of us. However, as we unlock, even those of us able and keen to get back to the office will find it looks vastly different from a couple of years ago. While this comes with plenty of obvious positives, it has impacted our connections with others, and we must look to new ways to keep them strong.

Why is connection so important, and how can we stay connected in a post-Covid workplace?

People with good connections are happier, less stressed, more engaged at work and even physically healthier. In the workplace, these links help us learn, become engaged in what we’re doing and feel loyal to our workplace. It’s not only formal meetings that are opportunities to connect; those short interactions we used to take for granted, the water cooler moments, play an important role in the sense of belonging.

With less opportunity for interactions at work, we need to create and make the most of chances to connect with others in similar ways to how we did before. It may take a little more effort but see it as a career priority, and you’ll get the value from it.

Find your tribe

Look for communities, online or otherwise, of like-minded people perhaps doing similar work that you can talk shop with, bounce ideas around, and talk comfortably about work.

Connect with mentors

People with mentors are five times more likely to get promoted. A trusted mentor can provide you with invaluable career advice, feedback and support, so if you don’t have one already, it’s time to find one.

Check-in

With fewer people around us, it’s easy just to immerse ourselves in work, but regular check-ins with others are crucial for everyone, in particular leaders who may not otherwise notice if their team is struggling.

Network

The pandemic may have been a comforting buffer to the introverts among us, but networking now is more important than ever. So push yourself to get out there, knowing your efforts will be rewarded.

Use your manners

We may have got into some less than polite habits during remote working, like calling colleagues at dinner time. It’s vital to stick to some basic rules around communication and ensure everyone understands and adheres to the new etiquette.

A final word on boundaries

As Professor Kathryn Nicholson Perry puts it: “Meeting our colleagues’ families and pets over Zoom has helped us see them as the human beings they are, which is obviously a plus, and it has added to our sense of connection. It is, however, important to ensure the boundaries between home and work don’t become too blurred. A lot of us will benefit from the added flexibility but it is also important to protect and nurture our personal relationships as well – because those connections are important too.”

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