Staying Connected From a Distance

Successful businesses and organizations have made ballet-star-worthy turns this year, pivoting en pointe with virtual huddles, team meetings, retreats and conferences. We are getting a lot out of these, but they can’t always slake our hunger to be together—to celebrate our wins with a meal, to have an ad hoc hallway conversation with a colleague that sparks an idea, or to laugh at a team meeting and remember why we do what we do. 

recent survey from Morning Consult found that, for many people, working from home feels beneficial in some ways, for instance, saving time that has allowed people to focus on their health. But the survey respondents also reported feeling disconnected from coworkers, with many experiencing feelings of isolation and loneliness. We ache for in-person connection. 

Of course, our disconnection and loneliness is not just about working from home—it’s about being unable to have the usual visits with family and friends, or to do a lot of the other in-person activities we are used to. 

Work leaders can’t fix that, but they can pitch in and help renew the human connection, and it doesn’t have to be complicated.

One of the best ways to show support and send a message that people matter is to lean into personal touches, particularly those that are off-screen. For example: 

  • Send a handwritten note via snail mail, sharing appreciation and celebration
  • Send a local gift to someone’s door
  • Make a phone call—even a 15-minute non-video check in will be appreciated

If staying on-screen:

Get lunch delivered to the whole team at the same time, and eat together over Zoom. Make it even more fun with a musical playlist by gathering suggestions from everyone. 

It is also very helpful to normalize the feelings of loneliness and isolation: simply by saying “I feel it, too!” you help others feel less alone.

Together, we can get through this. 

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