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10 Tips to overcome the challenges in maintaining and enhancing human connections in a virtual workspace

During the last 6 months I have been working with several clients in the banking sector, helping them to prepare for redundancy, taking practical steps such as CV reviews & interview prepping, and also working on building confidence and resilience for successful job campaigning.  It’s reminded me that when individuals face life changing challenges such as redundancy (especially in these strange times) a human connection is as important as ever.

As social animals humans need connections with others, especially when navigating uncertain scenarios and environments.  Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 restrictions, we have all been dis-connected in some way from colleagues, friends and family.

In my work I have been ‘meeting’ with clients solely through online platforms, learning tips and new skills along the way. For many, meeting ‘virtually’ is a whole new experience and the challenge in ensuring that the individual feels important and of value, requires additional focus and attention from my side.

Here are some tips that I find work well in providing a human connection within our virtual world:

  1. Check your broadband connection – if you are working from home, do you have a solid connection? There is nothing worse, dropping out of a meeting, picture freezing or having to cancel the meeting. I have invested in additional connectivity to reduce this risk.
  2. Check your equipment – is your camera and microphone working?
  3. Check your background, does it look clear and uncluttered?
  4. Are you prepared for the meeting…both in terms of your agenda and ideal objective (think WIN:WIN), and also with the equipment or resources you may need to refer to.
  5. Turn-up a few minutes early to the meeting (if you are hosting). Breathe & be calm and relaxed.
  6. Turn on your camera. I know this sounds obvious, but from experiences and hearing others who are having virtual meetings/interviews – turn on your camera.  Remember, Humans use body language to communicate.  There is nothing worse than speaking to an empty screen.
  7. Do not be distracted by your phone or email. Again, I have witnessed people checking emails or scrolling through their phone when on a call – be ‘present’ throughout the meeting.
  8. Active listening and pause in between verbal exchanges. Humans tend to consider their responses, if you need to pause to consider your response, then take it.
  9. Treat the person in the virtual meeting with respect, behave how you would if you were there in person with them.
  10. Finally, wrap-up, agree actions or next steps and conclude on a positive note. We are building long-lasting relationships human to human.

If you want to develop further skills and confidence in having challenging and complex conversations with your teams and colleagues, then please visit my Solutions page for additional services.