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How to improve your remote connections

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The problem

Ever since March 13th we’ve been working from home. I’m sure that somehow you too were affected by the global pandemic, whether if you started working remote from home, been sent in furlough, or even lost your job. It has affected us all professionally and personally.

I, however, tend to appreciate working from home every now and again since it allows me to catch up with a lot of work while keeping away from how busy and filled my calendar can get. With this feeling I thought that working remotely would be a walk in the park but I couldn’t be more mistaken.

After a couple of weeks I started feeling like I was stuck in a remote loop without making a difference the same way I did when I was physically in the office. One of the characteristics that in a way defines me is the relationships I create with colleagues and for these relationships to thrive you need to be present. Or so I thought.

The inspiration

“Tea with Gary Vee” is a novelty show hosted by Gary Vaynerchuck that was created during the pandemic due to the home restrictions most of us were subjected to. Gary Vee was stuck at home so he decided to do an 1 hour program where he would be in a Q&A format with fans initially from the US but eventually spread out to the rest of the world. It’s a fantastic show (sometimes even felt like business school) and I consumed the content live, or recorded via video or podcast while running. I couldn’t recommend it more!

Why am I talking about a program with Gary Vee? Well, because that program inspired me to do and try several things: from food photography to writing blog articles like this. But the most significant influence it had in my life was that it gave me the idea of creating “☕️ Café com o Parada ☕️” (translated to Coffee with Parada).

The idea

The idea consisted of bringing the strengths I showed in the office to the remote world by hosting a 30-minute session where I and the guest could chat about anything we wanted, but most of all a way of feeling like everything is alright even if it is for just 30 minutes.

An important note to make is that the guest is not usually someone I work with but someone I get along in the office and that I used to talk to them even if it is in watercooler mode. This little detail may seem like a small thing but is crucial for everyone to be able to detach from work and just talk in a relaxed and safe manner.

The execution

I held the first session on April 6th and now, 10 weeks later, I’ve already held 26 sessions with more than a dozen people. It’s not mandatory for me to host it every day but I can honestly share that if more than two days go by without my quick chat I start feeling like something is missing.

Looking at these past 10 weeks and outlining the positive and negatives:

  • (+) It’s fantastic to get to be with colleagues in these tough times like nothing is going on
  • (+) The feedback I received was great since more people felt this lack of connection
  • (+) Apart from 2 people everyone had more than one session
  • (+) 30 minutes was sometimes short but essential to us wanting to repeat the session
  • (+) Sessions have been great for me to keep up to date with what’s going on in different areas of the company
  • (-) It does take a lot of work to keep managing these sessions

Overall this has been a fantastic experience that I’ll keep alive while working remote from home. I came to realize something key about myself, my personality and my way of working. That without these personal connections, even if just for 30 minutes a day, the sense of realization and accomplishment really gets affected.

If you’re working remotely and something just isn’t right, reassess how you’re dealing with your human need for personal connections.

Check out my video on “Café com o Parada” on YouTube to know a bit more about the topic.


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Title photo by ThisIsEngineering from Pexels

See you next time! ✌️💪
Parada

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