Allowing our horizons in life to grow goes beyond simply showing up at work and completing tasks. We often learn more about our industry, company, and colleagues by interacting with the people at our workplace.
Our offices, physical or virtual, offer us opportunities to forge relationships, expand our networks, and gain a better understanding of ourselves and those around us. Cultivating these relationships and learning from them is about aligning your thoughts and actions with the intent to cultivate relationships.
Yet, in remote work environments, it can be easy to feel detached from a team, almost as if they are superheroes who only appear when they are needed, as opposed to maintaining an important element that makes us feel human, which is connection.
Covve’s workshop on cultivating authentic relationships in a remote work environment, facilitated by Hansen Hunt, emphasized the value of intention. Carrying the intention to cultivate relationships creates pathways to connecting with our colleagues. The four panelists, Gary Ware, Charles Vogel, Kat Vellos, and Jenny Sauer-Klein touched on instances where intention is of utmost importance to building connections in a remote work environment.
One way we can apply intention to connect with colleagues is to focus on discovering commonalities. Gary Ware, founder and CEO of Breakthrough Play discussed that by engaging with colleagues with the aim of finding common interests and passions, we are likely to start building relationships with our colleagues.
He expressed that “if we dig hard enough, we will find that we are more alike than we are different, and that’s something that takes intention.” This is especially true in a remote work setting, where colleagues don’t interact as intuitively and freely at the office.
The four panelists gave an example through an exercise in finding as many commonalities as they could in three minutes, showing the power of intention. They discovered that they shared eight common elements, from which coast they reside in in the US, to their beliefs in pickles. Engaging with colleagues in this way signals to them you are open and willing to learn more about them, creating an environment that makes them feel safe and that they belong.
Creating opportunities for genuine connections requires going beyond watercooler small talk at the office, or the usual exchange of “good mornings” in the virtual team channel. By intentionally setting the stage for intimate conversations, you develop greater trust and rapport with connections.
Jenny shared that whether it’s through small virtual gatherings or dedicating time during meetings for personal check-ins, deliberately carving out space for open dialogue allows for deeper connections to form.
When it comes to cultivating deeper connections, Kat Vellos, one of the four thought leaders and founder of weshouldgettogether.com, expressed that “the thing to remember with the way that we use questions with intention and with purpose is to acknowledge that they are a doorway to connection.” Asking questions shows curiosity, and care. However, it is crucial to bear in mind that when aligned with intention and purpose, questions can create the foundations of a lasting relationship.
Intentionality lies at the core of cultivating authentic connections in a remote work environment. It requires a conscious decision to prioritize vulnerability, empathy, and active participation. By intentionally seeking out commonalities and creating spaces for meaningful conversations, we can transcend the physical barriers of remote work and create a network of genuine relationships.
Updated on 23 Aug 2023.