I have been amazed how many people say they are working from home and they are bored. I find myself just as busy as always. However I do miss my social interaction and meeting friends, colleagues and clients over a cup of coffee.
That's why I have been looking up what others do to keep social interaction going. There are 2 aspects to this:
1. Connections with friends and family
Most of us got this down and we are chatting, video calling, face timing etc to stay in contact. You may find that the only thing that has changed may be that you are chatting more often. I only have a problem with relatives who do not have any instant messengers
2. Business / Work relationships? How do you keep those all important relationships alive during this trying time?
This now takes some thought and creativity. First you need to know the age and the character of the person you want to stay in contact with. For example, someone who is not used to online calls and chats, may need a different kind of follow up. And some people don't want to get until certain platforms, so it helps to know their preference.
- check in on your business contacts / colleagues / project stakeholders etc, whether you are currently able to continue to work with them or not. It is important to keep the existing relationships alive. Find out how they are doing
- use their preferred mode of communication
- At this time, where everyone is isolated, pick up the phone and call them, even if you usually communicate by email. It makes a difference!
- ask them how their company is handling the situation, how they and their family are doing etc. Showing this personal concern makes all the difference.
- have a virtual coffee break with one of them. Just like you would have a coffee break in the office, where you do NOT discuss work related things but just chat.
- Have a virtual celebration. Yes it is possible, even if you can not get together and cut a cake. The other day one of my fellow alumni was sad that her birthday party will be lonely. So we quickly arranged an online meeting with the rest of us. 16 people from 10 countries attended. We chatted and laughed, caught up with how everyone is doing and what restrictions are there in each country. We all felt refreshed afterwards.
All these little personal touches can make a big difference in the end. And you never know what opportunities come out of it in the end. Most importantly, it gives you the social interaction we all desperately need.