Since the Coronavirus has become a pandemic on a national scale, we’ve all been quarantined to our respective houses. While for some, this has meant the complete closure of their offices, for many of us, our work has followed us home.
While working remotely offers many perks and sounds like a great way to be productive while never having to change your pajamas, this new form of social distancing has brought with it some interesting changes, particularly when it comes to maintaining communication.
As connections are extremely important, companies have begun employing virtual meet-ups and conference calls for teams to stay in touch. And while this is a great way to make sure we don’t feel so isolated during isolation; sometimes many of these additional practices can feel a little forced.
For instance, at work, a new rule has been put in place where we are randomly selected for not one, but two coffee dates every day. The whole purpose is to connect us with a different coworker to maintain a sense of camaraderie through the distance.
In theory, these communication practices are a great way to build bonds, keep us connected and develop relationships that we wouldn’t ordinarily have; however, in execution, the meetups just seem a little coerced...
We can all agree that we have special relationships with the people we work with every day, but sometimes our co-workers aren’t exactly our friends. In fact, sometimes we can’t wait until the end of the day so that we can leave them where we met them -- at work. As a result, forced conversation, multiple times a day, can be both stressful and anxiety-inducing.
Not only must we find something to talk about, but we must also face the awkward silence when we can’t. Not to mention, our days get broken up, the focus can easily be lost, and we spend way more time on calls than we do actually working! ( Okay -- maybe that’s not such a bad thing!)
Working remotely, we have also seen a rise in group calls, check-ins, and progress reports in an attempt to keep lines of communication open and the team updated with what everyone is up to. Again, great in theory; as it allows departments and ideas that haven't had the opportunity to have cross-communication to be expressed, however, it also leads to added pressure to “prove” that we’re working just because we’re at home.
Ultimately, these forced attempts at communication can leave us more stressed, less productive, and further distanced from our co-workers because it can feel like we can't be trusted.
Of course, there are obvious pros -- I mean working on a flex schedule, wearing our pajamas all day, and doing assignments with louder background noise than you would have on in the office -- who can beat that? But, it seems like the added layer of interaction it comes with is less than ideal.
For those working at home, let us know if you found that communication levels have risen. And if so, do you love it or could you live without it?
We’d love to hear your thoughts!