Business, effectiveness and leadership experts Megan McCracken and Wendy Hanrahan led the discussion in NAWO’s first Check In & Chat, providing the following key takeaways.

Social isolation is the world’s largest, ‘working from home’ experiment, resulting in fundamentally new ways of communication. There are many ways we can create inclusion in a more virtual world, but firstly we should ask ourselves, for what purpose are we connecting? Being clear on why you are having the connection will help you use the right tools for the right purpose.

There are three main categories of why we connect:

  1. Work and Task
    The workplace is a setting where we often approach people at their desks and have discussions about collaborative tasks. Therefore we can similarly use online communication for: decision making, collaboration, idea generation, task completion, evaluation, planning and strategy.
  2. Team Connection
    This is for fostering and maintaining a sense of team connection and cohesion. You can make this fun, with activities such as Pictionary, team walks, team bingo, virtual morning tea or Friday drinks.
  3. Personal / One
    One This is about engaging personally in a virtual world. With your direct reports or with your manager, this could be about using the time for performance monitoring, developmental or personal matters. With your colleagues or teammates, it could be time to catch up to connect with the person and not the work task. This does not have to always be via video, a phone call is always a good option too.

How much connection is enough? As we become more skilled and knowledgeable using the technology available, we should be driving for more efficient, productive and enjoyable connections with our colleagues. Providing structure is even more important when engaging virtually, so everyone knows what contribution they can make and how to do so. Become familiar with the tools that are virtually available such as virtual sticky notes, IdeaBoardz, the chat function etc. Explore and become familiar with these tools and share them with your team.