When Face Time Wasn’t an App
“Face time.” If you were reading hard-copy business magazines twenty years ago, you'll likely remember articles urging you to actively seek out and spend quality, one-on-one “face time” with your manager or employees. It’s a fact: collaborative conversations and personal feedback sessions were vitally important between boss and employee, and among team members and colleagues, to build strong relationships in the workplace.
Fast-forward to today. More people work remotely, making old-fashioned “face time” impossible. That workplace give-and-take is still vitally important. But people may work continents apart, and “FaceTime” is an app.
It’s more difficult to build relationship when you don’t see your coworkers, employees, and boss daily at their desks, at the copy machine, or waiting for the coffee to brew in the break room. For supervisors with remote employees, it takes a conscious effort to develop people and provide feedback on their performance.
Making Time for Face Time
While making time for remote face time requires thought and effort, it’s fairly simple to achieve. Here are a few tips.
1. Make the communication face-to-face, remotely.
There’s a reason the FaceTime app is so popular. We connect with people on video in a way we can't on a regular phone call. Nonverbal communication is a social language that is in many ways richer than words, and facial expressions add a personal touch to your communications. Try FaceTime, Skype, Viber (for Androids), Google Hangouts, Webex, or Adobe Connect – video always makes the connection more personal.
2. Schedule casual connections.
Nope, it’s not spontaneous. But you can keep it casual, and connect the old-fashioned way by replacing the impromptu in-person meeting with a remote one. Try putting casual connections on your calendar – then do the work of finding ways that help you connect with them.
- Send links to blogs, articles, and websites that match their interests, including those that are work- and outside-of-work-related.
- Write up a casual email, just checking in.
- Call for no reason other than to chat, and share personal anecdotes or weekend plans. “How ‘bout those Cubs?”
3. Make Development Intentional
- Talk about your employees' development needs, and develop a plan together.
- Find others at their site who can observe them in development opportunities, and perhaps even mentor or coach them.
At Interaction Associates, we believe that balancing the dimensions of results, process, and relationship leads to success. Don’t let lack of physical proximity with your employees cause your workplace relationships to suffer.
About Beth Yates
Beth has more than 20 years experience working in organizational consulting. She has worked internally in organizations as a facilitator and training designer, and deliverer. She has also consulted as an external partner doing the same work. She holds a degree in sociology.