What did we do before the internet, before email, before IM, before Twitter and Facebook? Well, we talked to each other, sometimes on the phone and quite frequently in person. Isn’t that amazing. It’s also important. Building virtual roundtables relationships at work can be your only form of job security and the best way to do it is the old fashioned way.
Do you think the growth of online social networks is because the technology is cool? Nope. It’s human nature to want to be part of a community. While the internet allows us to communicate and interact virtually, which is very efficient, we’re losing the opportunities for interpersonal, face-to-face communication, which is very dull.
Work Relationships, like any other kind of relationship require investment but it’s worth it. Your return on the effort you put into cultivating work relationships, in terms of job satisfaction, job security and having a network to rely on for future employment opportunities, can be significant.
And it’s not that hard. In fact, it can be quite enjoyable. Make the effort to actually meet with your colleagues, to spend time with them listening to what they say and watching how they say it. This will solidify work relationships in ways that, hopefully, technology will never duplicated. This can also be a huge help when the inevitable problems or issues arise and others need to be counted on to take care of things or you should find yourself unemployed.
If you are part of a team and/or have clients/vendors with whom you work, make the effort to create face-to-face interaction opportunities whenever possible. Here are 12 ways:
Don’t IM or call or email, walk to their desk.
Schedule a meeting out of the office, in a park or a bar.
Travel to the client’s office once a month.
Schedule periodic, face-to-face team meetings or status meetings.
Take a direct report or your boss to lunch.
Schedule a meeting where the employees at your level get together.
Celebrate staff birthdays with a monthly pizza party.
Take the team to an art gallery or go to a baseball game.
Invite another department to lead a discussion on what they do.
Invite the folks in other departments to come see what you do.
Share your work with other teams.
Invite someone from another department for coffee.