Building Remote Relationships

September 25, 2020

Given that so many are becoming accustomed to working remotely and learning about new tools in the digital space, it is becoming increasingly important to be able to build remote relationships. If you are trying to grow your business or increase productivity as part of a remote team, mastering this art going forward will be a great skill to have. Even if we know the current situation won’t last forever, we are still forced to learn how we can operate as effectively as possible in this moment.

While many of the components of building relationships remotely are transferable from real world interactions, there are certain nuances that just can’t be replicated from meeting and interacting with someone face to face. For example, so much of our communication is non-verbal. Facial expressions and body language play important roles in conveying the message you want someone to receive. This can still be done when using video conferencing and online communication tools, but not quite to the same extent.

The pandemic is causing us to re-evaluate our relationship with technology and how we integrate it into how we work and live. The opportunity for new kinds of communications tools that can facilitate new shared experiences is very apparent. One only has to look at the likes of Zoom and Slack that are posting record numbers of Daily Active Users in the past few weeks. These sorts of collaboration tools will serve to not only help with communication for building technology and software, they will also help to connect us across the world for building new solutions on the ground.

It was clear in many senses that the ubiquity of technology was leading us towards a world where more and more people have the freedom to work independently and remotely. I think the situation over the past few months is serving to accelerate this process. For some it will have opened their eyes to a new way of working and how whole teams and organizations can work (at least some of the time) in a remote fashion. For others, their hand will have been forced due to layoffs, furloughs and employers no longer being able to keep them on. Many are also making the pivot to creating and building in the digital space out of necessity. The beauty of the world that we now live in means that the ubiquity of technology and tools online now makes it easier than ever to get started.

While many of the traditional social networks have fulfilled certain emotional and psychological needs over the past decade, we are entering a time where a deeper sense of belonging and community will be yearned for. Despite the fact that we are social distancing and self isolating at the moment, the importance of community and togetherness is as imperative as ever. I think this has hit home with many in the past few weeks during “lockdown” and it will continue to permeate in the digital space as we move forward.

With the synergy of social and mobile in the past few years, we have all been exposed to a hyper real time world of updates and media consumption. In this sense, social media became more media, and less social.

What does this mean for the next phase in social media evolution and online communication? There is absolutely opportunity for new kinds of social experiences online. The means by which these are facilitated are still yet to be determined. There are new tools and platforms being built as we speak. Despite the disruptions to regular daily life for many, we still have a need for connection, companionship and friendship. The tools that can best facilitate these more intimate experiences will be very successful in future.

There are a lot of interesting things happening right now that will set a precedence for how we interact as a society going forward. If there has ever been a time to come together and share ideas, solutions and collaborate, regardless of borders and nation states, it is now. There is no doubt that there are opportunities to capitalize on. Embracing the technology that allows us to move forward collectively and build a better world is a future I am very excited about. We need to push ourselves and our companies to initiate collaborations that transcend borders, time zones, and cultures.

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