There is strong evidence to indicate that feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world. Martin Seligman’s PERMA model of happiness and wellbeing includes relationships, and connection is one of the NEF 5 Ways to Wellbeing model.
It is important for all of us to stay connected to others and to work as a team, even when we are all working remotely and may no longer get to meet in person.
Being aware to build connections
Building connections with others starts with knowing yourself. Being aware of your strengths and also areas where you are less strong, gives you the opportunity to benefit from the support of others who complement your attributes. To build good relationships and create strong teams, who collaborate and support each other, it is essential to know each other’s skills and strengths and also to appreciate the differences we have.
It’s also worth checking in with colleagues in more informal ways. Whilst working remotely we have lost the informal connections we have with each other in a physical workspace. The conversations that happen whilst waiting for the kettle to boil, or perhaps in the staff canteen at lunchtime are no longer happening. For many of us, being at home all day has offered opportunities to find, for example, focus to get things done, taking time for some self care during the day now we are not commuting, and life can feel good. Yet for others being home alone for days on end, can be very isolating and lonely. It is World Mental Health day on 10th October, a timely reminder that now is a good time to check in with colleagues, even if they appear to be fine on the surface, when you’re working with video conference calls.
Are they okay?
Some of the indicators that someone in your team might not be doing so well are:
- Moods are more volatile and you notice mood swings or them being easily ‘triggered’
- Changes in performance and approach to work
- Over engaging in work, not taking time out
- Dis-engaged from work
- Avoiding social contact and withdrawing from the team
- Low energy levels, perhaps a lack of energy in their voice
- Finding it difficult to make decisions
What you can do…
On Fresh Air Fridays team meetings, we always start with a short check-in – where everyone has a minute or two to say whatever they like about what is going on for them in their lives. This really helps us connect with one another and, personally, I always find it easier to connect with and appreciate my colleagues when we have this space at the start of our meetings. Not everyone wants to talk about their private lives in a work setting and it is fine to use the space just for some silent time as well.
How will you continue to keep your team connected and supporting each other whilst everyone is working remotely or in transition? We all have different personalities and differences in the way we like to be communicated with.
Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 02920 892 783 for a no obligation chat on how our ‘Working Well’ programme can make a difference in keeping your teams connected and mentally well.