Is your team motivated? How to stay connected.

The innocuous ‘how are you?’ a pleasantry, we nearly never respond to the question with a genuine answer. So how can we check-in and know how our colleagues are doing?

We need to understand that during the pandemic, we are all experiencing a level of unprecedented and unexpected discomfort. As a collective, we are all not ‘just Ok’. We have had to adapt in our workplaces, in our homes and our in our daily interactions. We are all feeling a sense of loss. Having spontaneous chats and chance encounters – the ones that connect people and spark great ideas – has not been possible.

When people don’t talk, they end up working in silos—and not encouraging and fostering open communication and conversation in the workplace can lead to isolation, a fear of speaking up and a lack of engagement.

So how do we encourage and maintain connections?

With organisations having to mobilise and move their teams to a remote, online reality, encouraging communication and connection needs to be a priority – even more so than before the pandemic. By being mindful, of how to connect with your colleagues, setting time aside to connect and understanding that face-to-face interactions are arguably even more important in a remote environment. Encourage and maintain those people connections and spark great ideas.

Take time – have the one-on-one interactions. Set aside the time to focus on making connections with your colleagues. Take a 5-minute water cooler break to your kitchen. Think about the informal nature these interactions occur in the workplace. Replicate a coffee break from the office. Make coffee in your kitchen on chat – be creative, call a colleague from the garden instead of from your desk.

Ask questions – not the innocuous, ‘How are you?’ Questions can yield invaluable information about work activities and what gives your team members energy.

Possible questions to ask instead of “How are you?’:

  • – What’s your day been like so far?
  • – What work is most exciting to you this week?
  • – What would you like to get done today?
  • – What do you wish you could have done less of today?
  • – What’s one thing you are looking forward to doing tomorrow?
  • – What are you looking forward to?
  • – Tell me one thing you’ve learned recently that inspired you.
  • – What is one thing we could do right now to make this (day, project, event) even better?

Listen – to stay truly connected, you need to stop and listen to the answers rather than jumping in to express your own thoughts. Listen closely, questions often reveal the small ideas and accomplishments that might not make it into your team meeting, but that is worth celebrating.

Practice being mindful in your interactions, you will see opportunities to communicate better and engage with your employees. Mindfulness is a skill that will allow you to communicate better even in challenging situations.

Embrace new conversations

Asking better questions can help pave the way for good conversations, increased productivity and keep employees engaged. Good conversation promotes meaningful connections whether that’s in the office, on a video call, or at home on the comforts of your couch.

Be mindful, take time, make an effort to ask questions, listen and celebrate your colleagues. You won’t regret it!