How to Create a Virtual Experience That Fosters Connection
With an increasing number of people working from home since the arrival of COVID-19, technology is even closer at hand and coworkers are farther. Consequently, the rates of anxiety, depression, substance abuse and suicide have increased dramatically. In fact, as of late-June of this year, the CDC stated that 40% of adults reported struggling with mental health or substance abuse. When attempts to flatten one curve cause a major spike in other curves, employers need to ask themselves what they can do to bridge the gap between technology and human connection. Fortunately, there are several ways this can be accomplished.
Start meetings with personal connection
It’s easy to hit the ground running when your meeting agenda is brimming with to-dos but taking a few minutes at the beginning of your weekly meetings to make a personal connection with your team members pays dividends in employee mental health, engagement and job satisfaction. You could kick off with a question like, “What is the best gift you ever received?” or “What animal best describes you this week?” It gives employees a chance to be heard and offload some of the stress they’re carrying around. This brief “check-in” can liven spirits, help alleviate depression and increase focus for the tasks at hand.
Facilitate a virtual watercooler
This can look different from one organization to another depending on the size of the organization. If your company is smaller, maybe you have a watercooler channel on your team communication platform where you can post fun anecdotes, favorite memes or just shoot the breeze. If your company is larger and spans multiple locations and time zones, you can offer multiple scheduled times throughout the workweek when employees can hop on and connect. This can include chat or video streams. Offering a virtual watercooler helps ward off loneliness, gives people a sense of belonging and might even spur some innovative ideas by connecting employees that may not organically connect.
Utilize Video Meetings
If you’re working from home, chances are you’re already taking advantage of at least one of the many video conferencing platforms available for today’s remote teams. If you’re not, it’s time to start! They’re very easy to use and add a layer of visual connection that phone conferencing or messaging lack, feeding connection and warding off feelings of isolation and loneliness. If your team is already operating on one of these platforms, kudos! You’re already benefiting from the power of direct eye contact and you’re able to pick up on body language and subtleties in conversation. Your teammates are more engaged during your meetings and feel a greater sense of belonging and connection.
Participate in Virtual Events
There couldn’t be a better time to seek out virtual events that can help your team members grow their knowledge base or get the word out about your product or service. Did you know that Showcraft has a program in place to help you create your trade show presentation in a virtual space? Our Virtual Event Marketing services, born out of these challenging times, allows you to generate the leads you depend on from in-person trade shows while engaging other companies and teams that are looking to connect in an increasingly virtual world.
We know that people do business with people and a pandemic doesn’t have to put a stop to personal connection in business. Learn more about our Virtual Event Marketing services here or contact us at 800.886.0634 to start the conversation!