These days, very few of us are able to work the way we used to. If you’re used to seeing your colleagues in person on a daily basis, working from home can be a difficult adjustment. There’s something special about working with people face to face, a connection that’s hard to recreate through a screen. If you’re used to working with others, you’re likely missing the little things, and it may feel like your business relationships are slipping away. However, with the technology available to us today, keeping in touch in a touchless society has never been easier.
Tips For Maintaining Your Business Relationships While at Home:
Never underestimate the power of email. Tie yourself to your email like never before. If you’re working from home, make sure your notifications are turned on and you’re checking your inbox as frequently as possible for updates from teammates and colleagues. Everyone else is glued to their screens too, so correspondence should be quick. Also, check in via email with other associates you’d normally catch up with every once in a while over lunch, and let them know you hope they’re well.
Take advantage of video chatting. While you may not be able to work with your team in person anymore, technology has made it easier than ever to work face-to-face. Utilize free apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams to work remotely with your colleagues. And with features like screen-sharing, messaging, and team editing on most of these video chatting systems, you can ensure everyone is on the same page and working collaboratively. Don’t be afraid to video chat socially as well; hop on Zoom for a lunch meeting or a chat with a colleague over a drink!
There are also great resources available for businesses that rely on forming new professional relationships to attract clients. For example, some organizations like the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce and The Pallete Café in Saratoga are putting together online “mixers” and informational workshops that allow business professionals to network via Zoom, some including networking breakout rooms for individuals to converse as well as social hours and online presentations/webinars.
Call! With so much now available through our screens, we often forget about the classic phone call. If some members of your team are unable to reach their laptops, hop on a conference call.
Send mail on a special occasion. If you work somewhere that usually celebrates the birthdays and/or accomplishments of employees-- whether you signed an office-wide card or celebrated with drinks after work-- and you know of a special occasion in a close colleague’s life, send them something! Try a simple card or a basket of some sort. You may also consider teaming up with colleagues and pitching in for a gift from the whole team-- it shows that even though you aren’t able to celebrate in person, you wish you could!
Make plans for the future. They don’t need to be concrete; with the uncertain nature of the world today, you probably shouldn’t be putting dates on much. But make sure you’re expressing your intentions of getting together once it’s safe to catch up over lunch or dinner, or simply let them know you’re looking forward to working in person again.
Get creative and expand your reach. Despite how odd it may feel to move your business life online, take advantage of all the new sets of eyes on you! Reach out and collaborate with other businesses in new ways to help support one another as well as the community. Put together a virtual event or fundraiser to help support those in need in your community, and while doing so, expand the reach of your brand.
Soon business will be business as usual, hopefully with some positive societal changes. But until then, it’s crucial that we keep a strong sense of community by coming together virtually to help fellow businesses and those in need, most of which can be done through maintaining your business relationships from home. We also must remind each other that this is all temporary, and more importantly, that we’re all in it together.
Photo Credit: shixart1985 Young woman with laptop holding a hot coffee closeup. via photopin (license)