Co-working and connecting remotely in lockdown

Updated: Jun 1, 2021

How can you, either as the leader of the team or as the leader of yourself, bring “fizz” and “buzz” into your team environment to create a positive social climate (as suggested by Professor David Clutterbuck in his LinkedIn post. In particular, how can you do this in today’s world of social distancing and remote teamwork?

WFH (working from home) can help workers to achieve a better work-life balance as they avoid long and stressful commutes between home and the workplace, and they have more time for family. Other benefits of WFH include increased worker satisfaction, productivity and loyalty, and reduced staff turnover." An employers’ guide on working from home in response to the outbreak of COVID-19”. International Labour Organisation (ILO).

For some people, working from home is a blessing that creates new opportunities to integrate work and life and improve overall wellbeing, substituting travel time with “me time” to meditate or exercise and creating opportunities to balance work time with family time to match their personal circumstances.

For many, however, the workplace was a haven where they could focus on work, separate from the other priorities of family and home life. For them, working from home can create obvious challenges when they have small children also at home from school and where their apartment is now expected to serve both as an office and a home. Their workplace may also have been the “hub” of their social life! Now their social life is limited to web calls and social media, a poor substitute for meaningful relationships and human interactions. Again, from the ILO: While WFH (working from home) arrangements have a great deal of potential, the reality is often more complicated,… Maintaining work-life balance may be a particular challenge for those with family care responsibilities due to closures of childcare facilities and schools, and in the absence of alternative care arrangements. Often, WFH leads to a blurring of the boundaries between work and personal life, an increase in work hours and an intensification of work. Thus, WFH can interfere with private life and cause work-life conflicts that can be challenging for workers’ well-being, and affect overall work performance”.

At the core of “working from home” is the technology that we use to hold meetings online: one-on-one, in our teams or in online events or workshops. How can we adapt our own behaviour to use this technology in the best way possible, to help alleviate the new challenges of work-life balance, bring fizz and buzz back into our online team activities, and to help and support one-another in this online world? Here are some ideas that might help:

Practice Rapport building

One of the cornerstones of Life Coaching is the skill of rapport – building lasting connections with others that deepen over time. Tony Robbins defines rapport as “achieving mutual trust and understanding between two or more people. It leads to deep listening, meaningful conversations and fulfilling relationships where everyone involved benefits.” Tony Robbins – building rapport in Business.

Listen actively

  • Create a natural, relaxed and open atmosphere through the practice of “checking in” with the other person or group of people – How has their day been? How well are they able to contribute in this online call?

  • Practice mirroring and matching - Recognise and utilise the power of non-verbal communication – this is challenge over Zoom or Teams, but not impossible

  • Be present – Focus fully on the other person – what they are saying and feeling, on what they need - resist the temptation to multi-task while in an online meeting, but take the opportunity to write down key pointsor questions that you can ask when appropriate

  • Watch for changes in energy flows– the twists and turns of a conversation that may suddenly open up new ideas or shut down engagement and discussion

Plan and prepare

  • Discuss and agree the desired meeting outcomes at the start of the meeting

  • Review th