Bringing Meaningful Authentic Connections into Work
Remote and hybrid working has become the norm, a new balance of working remotely while maintaining employee connections is the new gold standard in workplace wellbeing. You do not have to go too far into a Google search to find 100’s of articles on how to make remote working and hybrid working effective for both employees and the business.
Not unlike many other organisations, we have created our own hybrid working practice, at Delt, to ensure our employees maintain a level of human connection and whilst we do remote working really well, we recognise that there are certain times, with certain work activities, where being face to face can make it a better experience for everyone.
But it isn’t just about being person to person that is important; how many times have you have gone into the office, sat at your desk in an open office environment, joined a meeting or ate lunch with your colleagues but never felt properly connected? It happens more than you think!
Let’s face it – we are living busy lives and even if we aren’t physically busy our minds are going 100 miles an hour: we are thinking about our current tasks, tomorrow’s tasks; the 100 things we need to do once we finish work; what is for dinner? where do my kids need to be? So it isn’t surprising you could be interacting with people every day without being present – and never actually having an authentic, meaningful connection with anyone.
No one defines authentic and meaningful connections better than Dr. Brene Brown for me:
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued: when they can give and receive without judgment; when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” – Dr Brene Brown
The reality is, connecting with colleagues can become ‘routine’ whether you are doing it virtually or in person. We can often find ourselves running through the motions and niceties and forgetting to truly connect
The 2021 World Happiness Report (The Power of Human Connection: 6 Ways to Achieve It (betterup.com) ) found that people who experienced an increase in connectedness with others during the pandemic had:
By no means do I profess to get this right all of the time. I have found this particularly challenging since we started working virtually more. It does not make me feel good and I am quite sure I am not adding the value I could to those interactions.
And so, I now I make it a point to purposefully take stock before, during and after my interactions…. sounds like a lot of work but it is literally only a mind shift…
Before I enter a meeting or start up a conversation, I take a moment to PAUSE before I engage. And when I say PAUSE, I mean stopping all the noise in my head and clearing the clutter in order to make a commitment to being with who is in front of me (virtually or in person). It literally takes 2-5 secs and makes such a difference.
During the conversation I remember my own personal mantra ‘BE CURIOUS’ – this keeps my focus on the individuals and conversations at hand rather than any other agenda or tasks I might have floating around in my head.
I make a point of offering the recipient genuine positivity. It is easy to get swept away with the burdens of the day or negativity that may be waying us down. But through channelling positive energy I find connection comes much more easily.
And lastly, I believe more than anything in the power of listening. The ability not to fill the silence but hold space for the other(s) person to share and open up will, almost certainly, leave them feeling a sense of connection from our exchange.
At the end of the day, this is about mindfulness and whilst it is simple in concept…it is a practice that needs to be honed everyday….and so my journey continues….
Jane White, Chief People and Culture Officer