“Who you gonna call?“ Unless you are reading this and under ten years old, that phrase connects back to a classic all-time 80’s move, Ghostbusters. The iconic images NYC, the Ghosbusters racing through their fire station headquarters, pilling into Ecto1, and then racing off to go bust some ghosts. No doubt even reading this right now, the music is running through your mind and perhaps, just perhaps bringing a smile to your face.
Now is a great time to use this happy memory and solve on of the challenges we are facing right now as we have all shifted into a virtual and remote workforce. One of the biggest challenges we all feel is the loss of connection to those around us and the challenge is staying connected with those we work with. As we have discussed in prior articles, gone are the days of water cooler conversations or quick chats in the break room. Now when you stop to get a glass of water or coffee, often your only conversation is with your pet or your kids as they run around your house while they are “learning virtually”. We all feel this over a year into our new virtual work forces, the loss of connection with our co-workers and peers, replaced by isolation at home. But what can be done to address this challenge as we are faced with the possibility of working from home being the new normal?
This is where the Ghostbusters come in and that famous tag line …”Who you gonna call?” While you will not be calling the Ghostbusters, you will be picking up the phone. To overcome this new disconnect, you need to intentionally connect with your peers, do not talk about work, and embrace the personal connection. All it takes to overcome the disconnection is to find a little bit of time each day.
For me personally, most of my co-workers live in different parts of the country and we all feel just as connected as people who live in the same city and share the same office. We can achieve this by embracing this mantra, plus we are all fans of Ghostbusters as well.
Being intentional is a key to many successful habits and here it plays a major role again. The first step is to make connecting with your peers is to make it a priority. Each day spend 15 minutes twice a day to call someone and have a conversation. For these thirty minutes in total, you will end up with probably less “water cooler” chat time than before, so if you are worried about time, you are still ahead.
It can be funny, what we use to think of a nuance, we now look back and miss fondly. Before you may have been frustrated by how often you would talk to a certain co-worker in the break room, but now you miss those long rambling chats.
The second thing to remember after you make your two phone calls is to not talk about work. So set the ground rules, you will not talk about work. You are not calling two co-workers to talk about a spreadsheet, you are calling them to connect with them as people.
Finally, enjoy the conversation. Just like the Ghostbusters were always having fun no matter what happened, it is okay to take a moment to relax and enjoy connecting with someone you work with. This is one of those small things we all took for granted every day in the office. We would connect with others but never took the time to appreciate that chance. Practice mindfulness. Be in the moment.
Millions of people all around the world have found a way to stay connected when living apart and we can follow in their steps by picking up the phone and being intentional with how we connect. On the personal side, one of my co-workers and close friends moved to Greece last year and we still chat just as much as we did when we worked inside the same office. The only difference, we now plan out times to talk each week to stay connected.
Starting right now, think about who you will call tomorrow and stop feeling disconnected from your co-workers. Choose to stay connected with them and their live as you work from home without missing a beat. If that fails, then you can call the Ghostbusters.