Employment Hero work from home article

Image credit: Employment Hero.

7 ways to stay connected in social isolation published by our software partner, Employment Hero.

1. Schedule social time
In normal life, much of our social interaction is incidental. You bump into a colleague in the kitchen and have a chat about the weekend. Working from home naturally reduces these interactions.

In day to day life, you joke with the barista and smile at the person who serves you at the supermarket. We go out to dinner with friends or head to the beach with family. Social distancing makes all this tricky.

With all this social time reduced, we need to be more intentional. In your daily and weekly schedule, set aside time for social connection. Use your WFH lunch break to call a friend. Send a ‘just checking in’ email to a colleague each afternoon. On the weekends, schedule some group video chat time.

2. Make use of technology
2020 is the age of long-distance communication technology. We have never had so many means of communication at our fingertips. Now is the time to take advantage of that. Get to grips with the tech available. Use Zoom, use social media platforms, use great apps like this one. To keep in touch with your loved ones, it’s important that everyone has access to the same technology. Make sure no-one is being left out. Give Grandma a tutorial on how to use video chat.

3. Variety is the spice of life
When WFH, it’s easy to spend all day staring at a screen. There are no in-person meetings to break up screen time. Combine this with increased reliance on technology for socialisation – and you’ve got a recipe for boredom.

In this time, we need to think of new and creative ways to connect.  Here are a few suggestions.

Host an after work online ‘happy hour’. Grab a glass of wine and gather to debrief on the day.
Start an online game with friends. From chess to Scrabble and Cluedo, there are plenty of websites and apps which allow you to create a digital game night.
Send a voice message, instead of just a text.
Order someone a gift and make someone’s day

4. Daily check-in
It’s really important that—together—we make sure no-one is falling through the cracks. WFH and social distancing isn’t an easy combination. Choose a few people and commit to daily check-ins. This could be your immediate family or close friends.

Each day, give them a buzz. Think of this as a chance to deeply invest into a smaller circle of relationships. As we adjust to this COVID-19 situation, we’re all going to have ‘off days’. When your time comes, you’ll be thankful for your daily check-in buddies.

5. Start a shared hobby
Shared experience is at the heart of human connection. Just because you’re not seeing other people face-to-face doesn’t mean you can’t cultivate shared experiences. Start a new hobby, together. Learn a new skill or set yourself a challenge. Whether you’re learning Japanese together or competing to see who can do the most push-ups, shared hobbies are a great way to stay connected in social isolation.

This is a great solution for workplaces looking to stay connected. If you’re feeling a little distant from your colleagues, why not suggest a virtual team-bonding activity? You could start your workday with a language-learning session or spend your lunch breaks knitting together. Train for a marathon together or start a chess competition. Whatever you’re doing – if you’re doing it together, it’s good for you.

6. Be a conversation changer
It’s important that we support each other during COVID-19. Sometimes that will mean talking about what’s going on and if you’re working from home, you’re obviously going to need to talk with your colleagues about work matters. Don’t let crisis talk and work talk be all that bonds you. During self-isolation, we need genuine human connection. That means we need to be having conversations about more than our current circumstances.

We need to cultivate relationships where we feel heard, known and wanted. We need to share ideas and laughter. This is one way to stay connected in social isolation—be a conversation changer. Be that person who keeps the conversation alive. Be intentional about the direction of conversations and don’t be afraid to lead by example. As you pick up the phone, be prepared with some topics of conversation outside of the current situation. Of course talk about what is happening, but for the sake of long-term connection, talk about more than that.

7. Connection requires creativity
Self-isolation is tough. Working from home can quickly begin to feel lonely. That’s why we need to think creatively. The first step to success is recognising the challenge. Reflect on the impact this situation has on yourself and those around you. Then, get to work! Put into action some intentional ways to stay connected. Use technology to your advantage and get creative.

Read more over on the Employment Hero blog.