We live in a world where technology is integrated into every facet of our lives - work, friendships, family, and more. Advances in technology have the potential to lift productivity and economic growth, but what about personal relationships?
Surge in Virtual Landscapes
Since the start of the pandemic, dating app usage has surged. Bumble has seen a 70% increase in video calls since March 2020 as many individuals have turned to dating virtually. Video conferencing has been prevalent in business as well, with meetings and events becoming virtual. In the communications industry, companies such as Zoom Video Communications continue to dominate, reaching a peak of 212.63 million MAU in September 2020 (Apptopia). Streaming app usage increased as well with HBO GO reaching a high of 223.55K daily active users, a 12% increase from pre-lockdown levels (Apptopia).
Utilize Advances in Technology to Create Closeness
In a WFH environment, technology is an increasingly important tool for output and productivity. Companies with a business model that relies on growing client relationships or collaborating with colleagues to increase revenue, utilizing technology can seem counterintuitive. You might have once taken a client out for drinks, invited them to an in-person event, or introduced a new colleague to the team by organizing a team lunch. Now you may have to rethink your strategy and rely on technological methods to create closeness. This poses the question: how can we grow personal connections in a tech-driven setting?
Before we figure out the ‘how’ we need to ask ourselves “why.” With many technology tools at our disposal, why should companies invest in using online communication and productivity tools? The answer is simple: better communication between internal teams and external clients will lead to increased productivity and revenue.
Now let’s talk about the how. Growing personal connections in business is critical for both internal and external relationships. Afterall, the best way to build a strong client base that drives revenue is to create a well-functioning team that thrives on learning, curiosity, and innovation.
The WFH environment has given power to many brands that foster effective online communication and collaboration. If your company utilizes an online messaging platform or work collaboration tool, such as Slack or Trello, there are ways to make these platforms more efficient so that they are worth your dime.
Take Advantage of Online Collaboration Tools
On Slack for instance, create channels or groups where you can add team members to discuss ongoing day-to-day tasks. You can also create channels for specific projects, short-term or long-term, to keep updated on progress and create a space for consistent communication. When utilizing collaboration tools, like Monday.com or Notion, tag specific team members under tasks they are responsible for. Be intentional in your communication while creating a safe space for questions, ideas and learning.
These methods toward creating closeness with your colleagues can be pivoted toward your clients, as well. Emailing back and forth is not always the quickest or most efficient way to communicate with your clients, especially when it comes to quick questions or urgent matters. Ask your clients which online tools they use for productivity and communication, and find a way to integrate them into your approach. Create message boards where you can more easily interact with clients, thereby becoming more approachable. Be smart in your methods and use the rise in online messaging boards and productivity tools to your advantage. By making yourself more approachable to your clients, you can foster a closer relationship with them.
Outside of productivity, consider planning virtual happy hours or coffee breaks to catch up with your colleagues and clients on a personal level. In a pre-pandemic world, teams would often engage in small talk during lunch, between tasks, or on coffee breaks. Remember coming into the office on a Monday morning and asking the colleague who sits on your left, “Hey, how was your weekend?” Now we often log onto our zoom calls, and when time is precious, jump straight into business. In doing so, we miss out on the small moments we may have taken for granted to build closeness with those around us.
Even if it means adjusting your calendar, allow for an extra 10 minutes in your daily or weekly virtual team meeting to check in with your colleagues on a personal level. This can be as simply as a quick go-around where each team member gives an anecdote about their weekend. Consider setting a monthly happy hour where you can connect with your team or your clients in a relaxed setting. Create the (virtual) space you would have otherwise had in person (and turn your camera on).
In a tech-driven world, be creative in your approach to growing personal connections with colleagues and clients, so that you can gain more productivity and output. Use these advances in technology to your advantage, this will lead to closer relationships with your colleagues and clients, and more revenue down the line.