Thanks to technological advancements, we can now stay connected with others 24/7. Plus, searching for information and communicating with people has never been easier or faster to do. It’s very convenient when you think about it!
Although the digital age allowed everyone to do seemingly impossible tasks before, it also turned some simple concepts complicated or more challenging to achieve. An example of this is building relationships.
A prevailing sense of disconnection and loneliness persists even when individuals continuously reply to messages or comments online. People experience the feeling of mental and emotional unrest even when they’re communicating through their devices. How exactly could this happen? Well, people are beginning to forget the power of meaningful connections.
Embracing a New Work Paradigm: Hybrid and Remote Work Trends
The work landscape often shifts to cater to unexpected situations and contexts. Take the pandemic as an example. Since companies were forced to find ways to keep their businesses going while still keeping their people safe, the work medium shifted. From face-to-face interactions, people leveraged technology and used it to deliver their expected outputs.
From a Face-to-Face model, work in many industries changed to a Work-from-Home setup. Organizations adopted a remote setup and used different online platforms to maintain organized workflows. Now that the pandemic threat is lessening, many companies choose the working model that works best for them and their employees.
According to a 2023 Forbes article, 12.7 percent of full-time employees continue using the work-from-home setup, while 28.2 percent have adopted the hybrid work model. On the other hand, the remaining 59.1 percent of employees have returned to implementing face-to-face workdays.¹
Although the world is starting to go back to what was once considered ‘normal’, we can’t say the same for every employee. The pandemic has dramatically shifted people’s social interactions in different domains.
Most people now struggle to communicate with others, from their interactions to work-related connections. Even a Forbes Health Survey conducted last year showed that 59 percent of American adults find it more challenging to form meaningful relationships after COVID-19.² This is definitely an issue considering how humans are social animals and could be negatively impacted by the lack of social connections.
The Transformative Power of Meaningful Connections
An employee’s well-being cannot be overstated. Many companies nowadays are putting in the effort to ensure good physical and mental well-being for their employees. Mental health breaks, anyone?
Although this is a great direction, it’s time for employers to understand that there are more than two factors when assessing whether a person is healthy. Research shows that a person’s social health also profoundly impacts his or her relationships and overall well-being.
Having genuine connections has the transformative power of breaking down barriers, reducing isolation, and creating a sense of belonging among fellow employees.
People Power: How Strong Social Bonds Supercharge Work Life
Socially adept people usually have no issues connecting with those around them. Eventually, this leads to many work-related benefits like the following:
- Improved teamwork – Since communication is more accessible for people who can connect to others easily, employees would have an easy time voicing out their opinions, concerns, and needs to one another. This would improve teamwork and build a better support system in the office.
- Increased job satisfaction – People who feel connected to their colleagues usually have a more positive outlook about their work. Instead of dreading their 9 to 5, they become excited to come to work. They’re also usually more committed to doing an excellent job for their company and their workmates.
- Higher productivity rates – Having good workplace dynamics leads to better collaboration and open communication between employees. It also establishes a healthy working environment that could help foster increased employee productivity and efficiency.
Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind: The Hidden Consequences of Loneliness
According to Dr. Vivek Murphy’s opinion piece in the New York Times, loneliness can hurt entire communities.³ It is often overlooked by people and is dismissed as a feeling of negativity. Others, unfortunately, view it as a nuance that should be buried under piles of workload or immediate communication with other people.
With all our cool technology, we can talk to people without being in the same room. But it’s funny because sometimes we end up feeling even more alone. It’s like getting lots of “likes” on social media, but it doesn’t make up for not having real chats by the water cooler. So, even though we have many video meetings, we’re often more apart than before. We miss being with people in real life.
This lonely feeling isn’t just sad; it can mess up our work life. Think about someone who works from home and feels forgotten or the quiet person in a big Zoom call who can’t find their voice. Loneliness isn’t just a feeling; it’s a big problem that can make us feel bad, stop us from thinking creatively, and make us work less.
But don’t worry! The first thing to fix a problem is to understand it. We need to know that loneliness is a big deal, and it’s a call to action. It’s like saying, “Let’s change things!” We need to make our workplaces friendlier, so people can be themselves, get stronger, and feel good daily.
The Art of Connection: Methods for Cultivating Workplace Bonds
So, what do experts suggest remedying the issue of loneliness and isolation? Well, it requires the effort of everyone in the working community. Every stakeholder, from employers to employees, must try to create an environment where connections can quickly be built.
Employee’s Perspective – Work on Inner Self
Before you can build connections, you need to know and understand who you are. Self-awareness is a critical requirement for connecting with others. Without it, it would be difficult to identify your values, strengths, and aspirations which are usually ways to form a deep connection with others.
For example, recognizing your passion for community service might lead to forming connections with colleagues with similar values.
To get to know yourself more, consider dedicating time to self-reflection. Think about your motivations and goals as well as the things that can make you feel passionate. You can also consider finding a medium for your reflection, like journaling or meditation.
Practice Active Listening
A healthy connection is founded on mutual interest and understanding. This requires you to have the ability to actively listen, understand, and empathize with the people you converse with. Active listening can also lead to more substantial conversations and relationships inside and outside of the workplace.
For example, actively listening to colleagues discuss their innovative projects might lead to valuable collaborative opportunities.
Although it sounds easy, active listening can take some effort, especially for people not yet used to it. You need to consistently work on listening to become an effective listener. Practice focusing on what people say with the intention of understanding rather than just thinking about what to respond.
Employer’s Perspective – Create an Inclusive Work Environment
Building meaningful connections with coworkers can be difficult if only done through social media or other personal mediums. The most effective way to advocate for positive professional relationships is to foster an inclusive work environment actively.
Champion diversity and encourage your employees to speak their unique opinions to everyone. Ensure that your employee’s workspace is a place they feel safe to share their thoughts and connect with other people. By establishing an inclusive foundation, you’re helping your team build meaningful partnerships with one another.
Centralize Connection-Focused Initiatives
Exert time, effort, and budget to create different connection-focused initiatives and opportunities. Gather necessary data and observations from your people and plan programs that would benefit them the most.
For example, if you feel the friction between new and old employees, you can decide to implement a mentorship program that would give your people a chance to get to know each other and learn from one another. You can also organize team-building activities and workshops that advocate for the importance of meaningful connections and in-office relationships.
ALLIED INSIGHT CAN HELP YOU REINFORCE THE POWER OF MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS
Another great way to foster connections in your company is to infuse it with your entire branding. In this endeavor, Allied Insight is here to help! As a full-stack marketing agency equipped with practical strategies and tactics, we’re here to enhance your firm’s marketing efforts.
Let potential employees and clients resonate with your values and aspirations and attract individuals who value valuable relationships like you. Let us amplify your brand and connect you with the right audience. Get in touch with us today!
1 Haan, Kathy. “Remote Work Statistics And Trends In 2023.” Forbes, 12 June 2023, https://www.forbes.com/advisor/business/remote-work-statistics/.
2 Davis, Sarah. “59% Of U.S. Adults Find It Harder To Form Relationships Since COVID-19, Survey Reveals — Here’s How That Can Harm Your Health.” Forbes, 12 July 2022, https://www.forbes.com/health/mind/social-anxiety-since-covid-survey/.
3 Surgeon General. “We Have Become a Lonely Nation. It’s Time to Fix That.” The New York Times, 30 April 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/30/opinion/loneliness-epidemic-america.html.