Wed 19 / 08 / 20
How Social Media can make working remotely a little less remote?
Throughout the lockdown period and Covid-19 pandemic, businesses and their employees have had to develop new ways to communicate effectively due to the sharp rise in working from home. According to Office for National Statistics, 5% of the working population saw home as their main place of work prior to the pandemic but this rose to almost 50% during the height of the pandemic.
With this rise in home-working, we have also seen the rise in platforms such as Zoom used for meetings webinars and networking. But what about replacing the more informal parts of working in the office? The coffee machine chat? The passing questions? The afterwork drinks, and perhaps more importantly the need to train, develop and coach members of your team.
It’s now been replaced by interaction on social media which ironically many employers raised concerns about when staff were accessing their social media at work. However, it’s those incidental interactions on social media that are now helping break up the working day, allowing you to check someone’s understanding or offering some advice and in some cases role model behaviour.
We round up 3 ways to replicate the office interaction and vibe at home…
1. Get that face time
We’ve all been seeing our colleagues via team meetings on Zoom, but what about the chatter with the colleagues you sit with in the office? Why not utilise apps such as FaceTime and Houseparty? This may raise eyebrows for some, but it can help to replicate the feeling of being in the same room as someone else. Being able to overhear how a more junior colleague is interacting with clients or customers is important in identifying potential skills gaps or where improvements need to be made. Equally they then do not lose the interaction with more senior colleagues who they rely on to understand the business norms or pick up hints and tips from. It also gives the opportunity to ask a quick question – do you know where that file is? I’m not sure how to respond to this client?…. Knowing someone is there to answer quickly can increase confidence and help productivity. When it gets too loud or intrusive you can just mute it for a while.
2. Instant messaging
Microsoft Teams, Slack, even WhatsApp. Instant messaging services can not only provide those informal conversations you miss from the office. If you were in the office, working on an article just like this, for example, you wouldn’t email your colleague across the room to say: “Is there anything you’d add to point three”. You’d read it out to them. Keep that casual conversation going whilst also avoiding clogging up email inboxes by using instant messaging platforms. Often team chats can be used on this forum for everyone to be kept up to date at one time. Be careful though – these chats would be something that an employee could disclose or ask to be disclosed if they felt the content was inappropriate or discriminating in anyway.
3. The home office pub
We have already mentioned that the use of Zoom has risen for things like team meetings and networking events, but what about the more social aspects of work like the afterwork trip to the local pub? Keep that connection between employees going by hosting a get together on Zoom. Use the screen share feature to host quizzes and unlike a more ‘important’ Zoom meeting interruptions from the kids and pets may bring some amusement! You could even have a go at learning a tik tok dance together – that really would cover off a few social media platforms!
Sally Bedeau, HR Consultant at Loch Associates Group
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