The concept of remote work has been there for quite some time now. Many organizations extended this facility to their employees who either had to travel a lot for business or if they were located in some faraway regions.
Earlier the ability to work remotely was considered a sort of luxury and was available only to a few sects of the workforce.
However, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, things changed completely. As several countries went into a state of complete lockdown businesses had no other option but to incorporate work from home or remote work policy to keep their employees safe and operations uninterrupted.
Well, the mass transition from the usual work culture to remote work was aided by modern-day technology. Various cloud-based tools came up to support both employees and employers to streamline their efforts and facilitate real-time collaboration. But the only thing that technology couldn’t compensate for much is the essence of human interaction that kept us going on for ages.
In this article, I’ll discuss with you the power of human interaction by breaking it into the following points
- The Effects of Remote Work on Human Interaction
- Why is it a Big Concern?
- Things to do for Encouraging Healthy Social Interaction for Professionals and Employers
So let’s begin
The Effects of Remote Work on Human Interaction
The ongoing pandemic has wreaked havoc on the entire humankind. The global economy tumbled down and physical human connections became invalid due to social distancing protocols. Professionals around the world also felt the adverse effects of the latter.
Confined within their homes to keep themselves and their families safe, it became their new workplace and the virtual world their new playground. Since the majority of the professionals apart from those freelancers were mostly accustomed to their office work environment, the shift to remote working was not that simple.
While in the workplace, they could go up to their peers and discuss work-related issues at the same time share their own emotions. This created a very good professional relationship between them contributing to a positive work environment. It helped them keep their worries at bay and concentrate on their work. Further, it positively impacted their teamwork while enhancing their workplace communication skills.
However, when it came to working remotely this arrangement became obsolete. With everyone separated from each other, water cooler and over the desk conversations got replaced by virtual meetings. The essence of human connection which existed when they were physically in front of each other was gone and it again widened the gap between them.
This indeed created a few ripple effects that are not at all desired for a healthy workforce. For eg, the feeling of isolation.
It is the most common problem that many remote workers are now facing. Human beings are social animals and staying away from it affects other aspects of their life. Since most of the office goers had to shift to remote work the social connections that they shared with their peers through constant interaction got affected. Staying away from their usual work environment and remaining confined within their homes for prolonged periods contributed to the feeling of isolation which has a negative impact on both their physical and mental health.
Why is it a Big Concern?
Many may argue that the issue of loneliness can be bridged easily with the aid of available chat and real-time collaboration software, but the truth is, human emotions can never be replaced by technology no matter how much it advances.
This fact has indeed turned the entire event into a matter of concern for employers as well as those HR professionals who are also dealing with great challenges as we speak.
The majority of the professionals who have recently turned to remote work are still trying to cope up with the changed scenario. As such, being confused and going stray from the set path is very normal. But with the feeling of loneliness, while working from home, professionals are sure to make certain decisions that might not be in their best interest.
Moreover, these times call for staying united and fighting the adversities together, so if you’re an employer especially you shouldn’t think of overlooking this issue that could lead your workforce towards extreme demotivation.
So, what can you do to prevent this situation from happening and how to improve it?
Let’s learn about it in the next section!
Things to do for Encouraging Healthy Social Interaction for Professionals and Employers
1. Creating Virtual Communities
Internet chat rooms and virtual communities have become the norm for all to share themselves with each other. Similarly, both solo professionals and employers can take advantage of this thing by creating a virtual community among themselves.
In this virtual community, one must allow its participants to speak their heart out whenever they want. Irrespective of anything, all members of your virtual community should be encouraged to support their peers and appreciate them for letting themselves out.
2. Organizing and Taking Part in Online Activities
One of the best ways to stay socially engaged while working remotely is through online activities. Being an employer you can surely plan to organize some virtual team building activities and professionals should look out for such opportunities where they can make some new connections.
Related: The Ultimate Guide to Team Building
These events provide a platform for all to showcase their skills and competencies. Moreover, it teaches everyone to grasp each other’s thoughts and act on it mutually that benefits all.
3. One on One Sessions
Face to Face meetings over online platforms is one of the most recommended ways to mitigate the feeling of isolation while working remotely. It allows individuals to speak out their mind in front of who they feel comfortable with. For employers this would provide them with a great opportunity to truly understand their employees and derive solutions for various problems that could arise with remote teams.
4. Online Referrals
Both professionals and employers often come across the issue of connecting to or finding the right persons for a job. Since, everyone is away it becomes quite hard to find and gauge the abilities of an individual who could fit the requirement. As such, one must consider checking out online referrals from the experienced ones who know how things go around and interact with them to get a more refined outlook.
5. After Meeting Sessions
Ok, this one would be a very effective way to encourage people to interact while working remotely. Generally, virtual meetings mostly end once they derive their objective. However, such meetings in the real world provide an opportunity for all the participants to get to know each other closely and also discuss other matters of interest. Similarly, you can create a separate section during the meeting where everyone is allowed to speak or ask anything they want to their peers.
These sessions would allow everyone a great chance for everyone to communicate with each other and also rejuvenate their motivation level from time to time.
The power of human interaction in any aspect can never be undermined. It is not only about talking random things but also sharing thoughts and learning from each other.
In times like these, where everyone is mostly working remotely or from home, the need to keep up the interaction with their other counterparts has become very important for keeping oneself up against the adversities. I hope that this article of mine has helped you understand the importance of keeping up with good human interaction and also I would be obliged to host you for further discussion on this topic.
Photo by Josh Duke on Unsplash