How to build belonging and intimacy in a remote work environment
Our need for human connection is ancient. We started this journey to living in a highly structured society and having powerful computers in our pockets by first living in tribes. We are happier mammals when we feel belonging, a shared sense of purpose, and a deep connection with those around us.
We’ve organized society with far too many fences and walls, making achieving those ancient human needs more difficult. 2020 has only added more barriers to feeling truly woven together with other humans. For the most part, we’re all more isolated this year due to the pandemic than any point previous in our lives. This applies to our social lives, but it also directly relates to everyone in the workforce.
Offices have been closed for months, video calls have become the norm, and your pajamas have gotten worn out. We’re all deep in the comfortable pocket of the “home office” and “remote work,” and although it allows us the freedom to be pant-free while brewing our own coffee, it certainly creates numerous challenges to feel connected to your co-workers—to feel a sense of belonging and intimacy at work.
Video calls, slack messages, shoutouts, and other rituals certainly help, but the challenge persists. One new platform, designed with intention to take the challenge head-on, is called Voodle. Say it with me now—VOODLE!
Before sharing with you exactly what Voodle does, let’s first pull apart the elements that make people feel connected and seen. What makes people feel like a three dimensional human in the workspace?
Firstly, self-expression and the ability to share who you are—the ability to be creative, goofy, and your whole self. Do you have pets? Are you a musician? Are you working from somewhere interesting this week? How can you best share those aspects that make you—YOU?
Second, having a fluid and reactive communication platform. Slack allows for immediate and simple written communication. It helps organize topics in channels and conversations in threads. It helps with connection, but is type-form the most genuine, sincere, and, intimate form of communication? I’d say no—hearing a human voice is better, and seeing someone on video is a step up from there. Meaning is often lost in written form, as we’ve all learned from a text thread gone awry.
Third, building a sense of shared purpose and direction helps a workforce feel connected, regardless of how far away their physical bodies might be from one another. All-team updates, company-wide progress reports, and small team weekly recaps are the types of workflow structures that build this shared sense of team. Keeping everyone aimed at the same goals, having a mission-driven approach to the day-to-day work, these are incredibly powerful ways to develop a shared sense of purpose. A team that has a shared sense of purpose has no choice but to feel tightly knit together.
So, if we can agree— 1.) allowing folks to be their authentic, creative, and funny selves at work 2.) having platforms that allow for genuine and fluid communication, and 3.) building a shared sense of purpose and direction—that those things will lead to a deeply connected team, let’s get into how Voodle can help.
Voodle is a work communication platform that is entirely based on short-form video. If you are a musician, you can share that gift with your co-workers by leaving a quick tune in the music thread. If you do have a pet, you can show them sporting their new sweater prancing around on the front porch, which is way more fun than a simple photo.
If you want to communicate quickly, a 30-second video of a new idea you have is a step-up from a voice-note, and two steps up from a written paragraph. No meaning or level of sincerity can be lost when you’re watching your co-worker explain a new idea that they’re clearly passionate about.
If you’re in leadership and management, and you want to thank you team for a heavy work week where three important things got done towards the company’s mission—do you think they’d prefer a typed paragraph, or a short video of you on a Friday afternoon, thanking them with smile lines on your face and a “you deserve to celebrate this weekend” energy coming through the screen?
The use cases are truly never-ending. Once you realize that voice is better than text, and video is better than voice, in terms of all the things that connect a remote team—it becomes clear that Voodle is your answer.
Voodle is how you develop the intimacy and belonging that is so hard to achieve at this moment in history. It’s a challenge, but Voodle allows for fluid, personal, and intimate connection allowing for co-workers to feel truly valued, authentically themselves, and seen by their peers. Those needs are still our most ancient human desires, and when you get it right—the business side will thrive.