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To ensure cohesive teams and trusted business engagement despite being remote, we need to build authentic connections in the virtual office.

Many a Valentine today in the digital age could probably be through an online cupid connection. Fewer outdoor ventures and more Insta scrolling means more relationships begin through social media and dating apps. With many of us working fully remote, we now meet new colleagues for the first time via a PC screen. We meet new clients and candidates on video calls. To ensure cohesive teams and trusted business engagement despite being remote, we need to build authentic connections in the virtual office.

Online romances flourish while maintaining virtual courtships. So too, we must nurture and cement professional ties when working remotely.

It remains critical that even when working from home, we cement and maintain professional ties. With online dating, profiles get perused, similar interests sought and so the virtual courtship begins. The assumed expectation – with what one can only but hope (and through countless chats, emojis & voice notes (VNs)) – would soon translate into a real-life romantic relationship. But similarly in the workspace of the “Webosphere”, how do we form and solidify co-worker bonds and relationships with candidates and clients?

Despite physical contact, establishing trust in any professional relationship remains critical to see positive and productive engagement and meaningful business partnerships.

When you look at someone’s picture and read their online dating credentials, you take it in good faith. That it’s not an embellished or fake representation. Or that the Snapchat filter is merely just enhancing and not hiding their true features. Establishing trust is a critical component to build genuine relationships even if you don’t have in-person engagement. When you can no longer go over to a colleague’s desk to iron out a work issue or have a quick catch-up over coffee. Or visit a client’s physical premises to become acquainted with their set-up and get a feel for their office culture. Candidates no longer coming through the Datafin doors to discuss roles or an upcoming interview.

As Consultants, we craft countless emails, LinkedIn and WhatsApp chats. We rely on video calls and pick up the phone to talk to and assure our clients and candidates we have their best interest at heart. Through being genuine and frank, if need be, especially around salary. We provide a service with the utmost transparency. We want people to know our remote business is still as trusted as it was when we had brick walls.

Here are 3 quick ways to help you build authentic connections in the virtual office –

Find some common ground – We usually connect with partners we share similar interests with. Things you can relate to and around which you could create new shared experiences. In our professional connections, we can try to find common ground by probing the person about themselves. Find out where they’re from, what their hobbies are, what is important to them in life.

Be kind and give people grace – If your date is late – dependent on how late of course, within reason people – you would give them some time and allow a valid explanation once they eventually arrive. The same in business. We need to give people the benefit of the doubt. In Recruitment, we know how stressful job hunting can be and in turn, to find the right candidate for a position. It’s important to keep this in mind so you can help and support people in the most productive way.

And according to Cielo.com… Be engaged – Although tweets and status updates connect you to your network, they merely set up the ability to connect with someone one-on-one. Direct and personal engagement lays the groundwork for a relationship built around trust, honesty, and openness. Interact with your network on an individual level, not just an aggregate one. As a Recruiter, you’ll likely have to initiate direct, personal conversation. If someone posts on LinkedIn or Facebook about cats, direct your next cat-related Meme at them. Silly perhaps, but relationships won’t develop if built solely around, “Looking for a new career opportunity? Apply here today!”

Posted in Advice, Skills, Uncategorised

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