3 Keys To Building Strong Work Relationships In A Remote World
In a post-pandemic world, people want to work remotely. A 2021 Owl Labs survey emphasized how important remote work has become, with 91% of respondents saying they were as or more productive working from home and 56% were willing to look for a new job if remote work was no longer an option. However, they still agree that the office is the best place for developing relationships. According to PwC, 87% of employees said the office is important for collaboration and relationship-building-two instrumental tools of successful teams both in-house and remote.
Regardless of where or how we work, relationships remain essential. Nurturing them, particularly in a remote environment, requires effort on our part. Here are a few ways to build strong relationships in a remote world.
Be intentional about work relationships.
Work relationships were easier to cultivate when we could build a 10-minute walk to get coffee into the day. While losing those 10 minutes might seem small, their absence builds. Soon, we lose touch with the people in front of the Zoom background.
Psychologists suggest that we devote a minimum of six hours per week to maintaining healthy relationships. While work relationships don’t need that level of commitment, we should still be intentional about building and maintaining relationships. For example, try scheduling what used to be informal. Have team members set aside time to catch up with each other and chat about binge-worthy shows or their fantasy football teams. Managers should schedule one-on-one check-ins with team members that don’t focus entirely on work. Further, leaders should understand that personal connections help deepen relationships with clients, customers and teams. So in a meeting, for instance, the first or last five minutes could be used to ask for updates on everyone’s personal lives.
Other strategies could include starting special interest groups, like a virtual book club, or having after-hour meet-ups with local team members. On a smaller scale, team members can make an effort to send notes of congratulations or appreciation to colleagues. The more intentional we are about relationship-building, the more natural it will become and the better connected our teams will be.
Make yourself available.
As Better Meetings founder Lee Gimpel notes, leaders who once asked, “How do I convince people to turn off their cell phones in meetings?” now ask, “How do I get them to turn on their cameras?” Being available requires more than having a green light on Slack. It means being involved, attentive and engaged. Having the video camera on during meetings helps.
Engagement can help with more than relationships. Johnny Taylor Jr., president and CEO of the Society of Human Resource Management, said that 67% of supervisors consider remote workers easier to replace than those who work onsite. So, being more available can help ensure employees are top of mind when new projects or opportunities arise.
Open the virtual office door.
Leaders who say, “My door is always open,” must find new ways to keep those promises. In the virtual age, that requires commitment and scheduling. Managers can hold virtual office hours to speak with team members one on one or in small groups. But they shouldn’t wait for employees to come to them. Leaders should take the time to reach out. That creates trust and more consistent communication options.
Team members should apply the same principles by being accessible during common work hours and clearly communicating the times when they’re offline. Now more than ever, co-workers understand the need to run the carpool or walk the dog, but it’s important to delineate those times.
One more thing: Don’t fret about overcommunicating. What’s worse for workplace relationships is poor communication. Scheduling regular calls to discuss projects, goals and concerns can help strengthen interpersonal relationships among teams.
Anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher tells us that technology has not changed love. So it shouldn’t change our ability to build strong relationships in a world that’s become increasingly remote. With some effort and creativity-and our cameras turned on-we can create a virtual water cooler that keeps bringing us together.
Originally published at https://www.forbes.com.
About Dylan Taylor
Dylan Taylor is a global business leader, commercial astronaut, thought leader and philanthropist. He is an active vanguard in the space exploration industry as a CEO, investor, explorer and futurist. Currently, Dylan serves as Chairman & CEO of Voyager Space, a multi-national space exploration firm that acquires and integrates leading space exploration enterprises globally.
Dylan has been cited by Harvard University, SpaceNews, the BBC, Pitchbook, CNBC, CNN and others as having played a seminal role in the growth of the private space industry. As an early-stage investor in more than 50 emerging space ventures, including Accion, Kepler, York, Astrobotic, LeoLabs, Relativity, and Planet, Dylan is widely considered the most active private space investor in the world.
Dylan is an explorer of note. On December 11th, 2021 Dylan became just the 606th human to go to space as part of the crew of Blue Origin’s NewShepard Mission 19. Accordingly, Dylan earned his commercial astronaut wings with the FAA and his universal astronaut wings from the Association of Space Explorers.
He is also one of only a handful of humans to have descended to the deepest part of the world’s oceans, Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench as part of the Limiting Factor Expedition in July of 2022. In that mission, Dylan descended with pilot Victor Vescovo to a depth in excess of 10,800 meters (35,500 feet) into an area of the Mariana Trench that had never been visited by humans. Dylan is the youngest human to have been to the deepest part of the world’s oceans and crossed the Karman line into Space. In addition, Dylan was a mission specialist on the 2022 mission by OceanGate to the Titanic in the Northern Atlantic, making him just the second human to visit space, the Challenger Deep and the Titanic. Dylan has been a member of the Explorers Club since 2014.
Dylan’s technical background, global business experience and unbridled passion for space make him a unique figure within his industry. He regularly speaks and writes about the future of the space economy and is sought after by the media for his expertise in the financial aspects of space investing as well as industry dynamics.
As a thought leader and futurist, he has written many popular pieces on the future of the space industry for Forbes, FastCompany, Newsweek, SpaceNews, ROOM, The Space Review, Apogeo Spatial and Space.com. As a speaker, Dylan has keynoted many of the major space conferences around the world and has appeared regularly on Bloomberg, Fox Business, and CNBC.
Dylan has extensive global business experience as both a board director and CEO in several industries, including advanced electronics, finance and real estate. He previously served as a Director for UMB Bank, a Fortune 500 company based in Kansas City and as a mutual fund director for the Jackson Funds where he oversaw assets of $8B across 130 distinct funds. He has also served in the roles of CEO, President and Board Director for multinational companies like Prudential PLC, Honeywell, Colliers and Jones Lang LaSalle. Dylan was recognized as a Fortune 1000 CEO with P&L responsibility in excess of $3B and operations encompassing 15,000 employees in over 60 countries. In addition, Dylan has participated in 4 IPOs over the course of his career.
Dylan is a leading advocate of space manufacturing and the utilization of in-space resources to further space exploration and settlement. In 2017, he became the first private citizen to manufacture an item in space when the gravity meter he co-designed and commissioned was 3D printed on the International Space Station. The historic item is now housed in the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.
Dylan maintains an extensive philanthropic impact on the space industry. In 2017, Dylan founded the nonprofit and social movement, Space for Humanity, which seeks to democratize space exploration and develop solutions to global issues through the scope of human awareness to help solve the world’s most intractable problems. Building upon his passion and support for the space industry, Dylan serves as a strategic advisor for both the Archmission and the Human Spaceflight Program and is a co-founding patron of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, which promotes the growth of commercial space activity. Additionally, he is also a leading benefactor to the Brooke Owens Fellowship, Patti Grace Smith Fellowship and Mission: Astro Access.
Dylan is the founder and Chairman of Multiverse Media, parent company of the popular space philosophy website 2211.world as well as the Ad Astra Dinners, a Jeffersonian-style dinner series featuring some of the world’s leading influencers discussing the future of humanity in space. Another subsidiary of Multiverse Media, Multiverse Publishing, publishes books by leading authors including Frank White, Isaac Asimov and Gerard K. O’Neill. It is also the executive producer of the documentary film, The High Frontier and the forthcoming film, Fortitude.
For his influence as a global leader and his commitment to creating a positive impact on the world, Dylan has been honored with numerous personal and professional accolades in recent years. The World Economic Forum recognized Dylan as a Young Global Leader in 2011 and he was named a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute in 2014. In 2020, Dylan was recognized by the Commercial Spaceflight Federation with their top honor for business and finance, following in the footsteps of 2019’s inaugural winner, the late Paul Allen.
Dylan Taylor earned an MBA in Finance and Strategy from the Booth School of Business at University of Chicago and holds a BS in Engineering from the honors college at the University of Arizona, where he graduated Tau Beta Pi and in 2018 was named Alumnus of the year. In 2013, he attended the Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century program at Harvard University.
Dylan and his family reside in Denver, Colorado where he is active locally with Colorado Concern and the Colorado Spaceport. In his spare time, Dylan enjoys hiking, competing in triathlons and spending time outdoors. He is married to author Gabrielle V. Taylor with whom he has two teenage daughters.