The Importance of Networking Internally in a Remote World

Estimated reading time ~ 2 min
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We've all heard it before—how important it is to network and considering the climate that we're in, the methods have gotten super creative. Although we're a year into this post-COVID discovery era, it seems like the old way of communication has completely shifted to a predominantly remote way of living and interacting. What sounds like it would be oddly convenient, has been proven to be quite difficult for some individuals. According to a study by Forbes Insight, 85% of people say thing build stronger, more meaningful business relationships during in-person meetings and conferences. It's been proven anecdotally that people believe that in-person relations play a key factor in building long-lasting relationships overall.

It's quite clear that the abrupt transition to remote working has brought about several challenges for most professionals. Although the assumption of remote working and networking is that it's easier because it lacks the pressures of human interaction. In actuality, remote communication is quite nuanced and brings about challenges that we never thought about prior to this new way of life. A study by Greater Divide recently showed those who identified as introverted were more likely to experience mental health issues during quarantine, a time when work-from-home orders were at an all-time high than their extroverted peers.

In most companies, an average of 40 to 50 percent of employees identify as introverts, which means that 40 to 50 percent of individuals are currently navigating in a challenging space. To help introverts adjust to remote work culture, try to create more social settings within your organization where they can connect with colleagues and build meaningful relationships. Think, quality over quantity. Small groups are always better than larger groups and even try having one-on-one segments where people can get to know each other more comfortably. Don't be afraid of curating a conversation. Offer prompts—to your employees—that they can use as conversation starters.

As work culture goes, there are a few great examples of internal networking that I've seen that have been quite successful in some of the places that I've worked in. In most cases, they involve implementation by leadership. Here are a few things you can try within your organization to help build stronger networking foundations within your organization:

  1. Create a buddy system for people on various teams within your org. If you are in a larger org, perhaps the buddy system can be within the team. 70 percent of employees say that having friends at work is the most crucial element to happy working life. Take a survey with your employees. Try pairing individuals based on how long they've been at the company, their interests, and what team they're on.
  2. Have weekly or bi-weekly meetings to discuss interests. Studies show that discussing interests at work has led to 137 percent more personal development support, which also contributes to productivity at work. Not only do people want to continue to learn, but it’s also clear that they want to learn from their peers/colleagues.
  3. Have more company-wide virtual social events. Offer to send lunch to your team and have breakout groups to discuss company goals and achievements. Try incorporating icebreakers into each of these segments to make sure that the conversation isn't only about business.
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