This pandemic has been difficult for so many employers and employees alike. We have all felt isolated at times and discouraged about the increase of screen time. With lockdown after lockdown we were limited with our options and relegated to our desks for the majority of the day leading to a more sedentary lifestyle, and not by choice. The question is, how do we develop better quality relationships with employees while working from home? Here are some of our tips and tricks about how to strengthen your internal communications strategies and build better bonds across your company:
- Set up daily morning meetings with your team. Doing this simple task will become a habit and process that everyone will follow. When you familiarize yourself with your team everyday you will learn about each individual’s job responsibilities, what is holding them back and how to fix problems. Generally, the more problems that are met with solutions, the greater trust and confidence is made between team members. Comments, questions or off-handed remarks can spur bigger discussions leading to creative ideas and interesting topics. This is also a way to forge better relationships with your team because you will not only listen to them, but understand them more.
- Try to schedule one or two on-site or in-person meetings. We all know that during the pandemic it has been difficult to meet with anyone outside our family, let alone coworkers. However, with stay-at-home restrictions becoming less punitive and allowing for more flexibility, scheduling in one or two on-site or in-person meetings may really do the trick to deepen your coworker relationships. Going for coffee, taking a walk in the park, having meetings at a restaurant can allow for both people to feel more relaxed and less tense. It can loosen things up for everyone and provide a better sounding board for suggestions, feedback and two-way dialogue. Visiting clients is also a great kick-starter to talk about new material, review old projects and get information to further projects. Not only can your employees feel valued through the invitation but so will your clients. It’s a win-win for all.
- Personal chats and phone calls. Let’s face it, virtual conferencing tools are great and have become a mainstay for our working needs, but sometimes they can keep us, especially with business communications tools. However, sometimes it is difficult to know what conversations are meant for which channel. Some of us tend to speak more openly on WhatsApp than we do on Slack for example, it is more for corporate communications. We can learn how to adapt to the changing environment by changing our styles and adjusting according to the platform. When we merge the two it can be a customary way to develop better bonds, one being professional and the other more laid back. It really depends on the person and what their comfort level is. Having both forms of communication can really add to the experience for an employee who may feel like they can be more of ‘themselves’ when they talk on off-hours, for example. The best part of these tech solutions is that you can make phone calls which really bolster trust, rapport and deeper connection during times where you may be alone, specifically during quarantine.
Creating stronger ties with employees has been proven to be better for overall productivity, trust and rapport, motivation, longer employee retention, better work-life balance, quality work, high client satisfaction. Learning what the best modes of communication for your employees will pay dividends that will far outweigh the ultra-professional water-cooler talks. With more knowledge about one another it becomes easier and fun to interact and the workplace become a home away from home, a second family and kinship. Employees that play together stay together. So, whether it is Slack or WhatsApp, as long as you and your boss feel comfortable with each other, there is no rule book to engagement. If the pandemic has proved anything, it is that life should be lived and being masked should only be done to lower case loads of transmissions. Being worried about your delivery and words will prove to be detrimental to your health, happiness and inclusivity at the workplace – stop overthinking it and just be yourself.