Make your time together count

By Erica Keswin

As a workplace strategist over the last 25 years, I’ve come to expect the unexpected. So it doesn’t surprise me that employees who come into the office three, four or even five days a week may still feel isolated and alone. While companies who gather employees three times a year may feel more connected than ever.

Why does “feeling connected” even matter?

Here’s why: Employees report that “feeling connected to their work improves their ability to do their job (60%), day-to-day work quality (58%), desire to go above and beyond (55%), and ability to serve customers (47%).”

Most leaders I work with have a sense that—regardless of how convenient our virtual or hybrid meetings are—it’s important to still meet in person. But few appreciate how to make their time together really count.

Here are three things you can do to get the biggest ROI from your IRL gatherings.

  1. Take Your Time. One of my favorite studies found that the firefighters who eat together save more lives. They sit, eat, and have real conversations. Take the time to build those relationships, have conversations, and be curious. On the days you’re together, stop and smell the roses, sip your coffee, walk by a colleague’s desk, etc. In other words—take your time.
  2. Pause to Plan. If you aren’t careful, you’ll spend your in-office days on back-to-back Zoom calls! You have to leverage the tech for all of its greatness and also, put it in its place, i.e. when you’re with people, put it AWAY. Don’t default to using tech, and consider optimizing for the people who are in the room instead of making every meeting hybrid. Unfortunately, left to our own devices, we aren’t connecting. Which is why leaders must pause to plan.
  3. Be intentional. There are so many ways to make your time together count, which is why the most important thing is to be intentional. Recent research from Atlassian shows that “intentional team gatherings lead to a 27% increase in feelings of connection, especially among new graduates and new hires, and that this boost lasts for 4-5 months.” Trust me, taking the time to reflect is worth it, especially when you’re working with other people’s precious time and resources because the absence of intentionality is a recipe for resentment.

If you start with these three things, you’ll be on your way to designing a day in the office worth the commute.


About Erica

Erica Keswin is an internationally sought-after speaker, bestselling author, and workplace strategist who partners with some of the most well-known companies in the world on how to bring their human to work. For the past two decades, Erica’s work has defined what it means to be a human leader. Erica’s Human Workplace Trilogy: Bring Your Human to Work, Rituals Roadmap, and The Retention Revolution was published by McGraw Hill and each debuted as a Wall Street Journal bestseller. 

When Erica isn’t writing books, she delivers keynotes, leads workshops, and coaches top-of-class companies and individuals to help them improve their performance by honoring relationships in today’s hybrid workplace.

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