Businesses are social organizations, full stop. In-person gatherings, whether they be one-to-one or formal/informal meetings with a few or many attendees, hold tremendous value. Most people have a burning desire (on varying levels) to look others in the eyes and express themselves both verbally and through body language. Imparting energy, expressing joy or disappointment, entertaining and having fun, are all components of the business of social interactions.
Leaders who are implementing the same sorts of social exchanges on the virtual front are avoiding the risks of disengagement, and they are actually experiencing a cultural and commitment boost. A productive social system is shaped by leadership — not by location.
Is it possible for leaders to create strong social capital without being co-located in an office? The answer is yes, many leaders (including me) have been doing it for decades. And for a scaled Work From Home program to work, strong social capital is a requirement, and one that your managers and leaders must get very good at.
Action items to leverage social capital:
- Take your leaders through proper training on running great virtual meetings
- Check the tools and technology you are using to facilitate connection. If they take more than one click for people to connect, you need an update.
- Provide fun, purely social virtual events, just like some of the stuff you did in office.
- Ensure senior leadership is consistently visible and virtually engaging all levels of the organization.
- Form a task force of employees — get consistent input and fresh ideas for connecting, engaging, and socializing in the new fully virtual environment.
- Replicate all the positive aspects of the office environment that were designed to engage and leverage social capital.
This tip provided by Michele Rowan, President, WFHAlliance.com. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. https://www.wfhalliance.com