Keep Your Team Connected in a Hybrid Workplace
As we approach the two year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, Digital Wellness author and expert Mark Ostach says there is a void in the hybrid workplace that addresses the need to foster a sense of connecting and belonging beyond virtual happy hours and annual in-person events. Enter Virtual Gatherings 🙂
Why Virtual Gatherings?
Many people are feeling Zoomed out, isolated, and disconnected from each other in the remote workplace. Virtual Gatherings fill a void in the hybrid workplace and function as a new strategy to help build a connected culture. They are not considered professional development, traditional training or just rah-rah pep talks.
What Happens At a Virtual Gathering?
Virtual Gatherings are intentional time dedicated to fostering social connection among employees. They are ideally for new hires, cross department interaction, or people feeling disconnected from their team. Virtual Gatherings are typically 60 minutes long and include 2 ice-breaker style prompts that allow employees to get to know each other in breakout rooms. In between icebreakers, a brief learning moment is led by Mark through storytelling to help deepen social growth and help encourage human resilience. Virtual Gatherings are designed to provoke the ABCs of human connection.
The ABCs of a Virtual Gathering
The ABCs of the hybrid workplace aim to foster a culture of connection and include: Autonomy, Belonging and Connection.
Autonomy: According to Ostach, employees want autonomy and managers should adopt a ‘trust first’ mentality. Assume trust until it’s broken – give people the benefit of the doubt they are managing work and home commitments while remote. “If you don’t have trust in the workplace, then you have more rules and the last thing employees want are more rules,” points out Ostach. “They prefer for managers to give them their assignment and trust them to do their job.”
Belonging: Ostach says organizations need to be proactive by creating a deeper sense of belonging, making people feel like they are part of a team with a clear mission and purpose that is bigger than the bottom line and likely to shape a diverse and prosperous culture.
Connection: Many employees need to feel socially connected to their peers. Finding ways to foster personal connections is essential to separate the transaction nature of jumping from one virtual meeting to another.
What Companies Are Saying
“100% of our team works remotely, ” says Danielle Williams, Vice President of Talent at Class Valuation, one of the top Appraisal Management Companies in the Nation. “Having Mark lead bi-monthly Virtual Gatherings has been a great way to keep our team socially connected and has brought a sense of community that was lost while we transitioned into a hybrid environment,” stated Williams.