Last winter, Nic took a new job working remotely. It was a big change from Nic’s prior office-based jobs, but it was a great opportunity that meant Nic’s family didn’t have to move. The kids got to stay in their schools with their friends and Nic’s partner didn’t have to start a job search in a new city following a relocation.
The new remote work lifestyle has other perks as well. Nic has more flexibility around hours and every day is “Bring Your Dog To Work Day,” much to the delight of Max the Mutt. On occasion, Nic goes to a local co-working space just to get out of the house and to reconnect with the working world in person. In those ways, the new lifestyle has been good. In other ways, however, remote work has been challenging, especially when it comes to Nic’s connection back to the company.
The digital connection itself is much better, now that the home wi-fi and router have all been upgraded, but the communication with Nic’s team is not as smooth. There are frequently times when significant bits of information don’t get passed along to Nic, not intentionally, but because Nic wasn’t there to bump into team members in the cafeteria over lunch. The repeat oversight makes Nic feel like a bit of an afterthought, like something disposable. Other times, it’s been a little easier to read a team member’s email message as terse or aggressive, when it turns out it was neither. Nic isn’t always sure what other team members are working on or how it intersects with Nic’s work in real-time. It’s hard to have a sense of what is going on in the office, outside of the meetings for which Nic connects in. Nic is frustrated and feels isolated and distant in more than miles.
It leaves Nic feeling more like a machine, handling rote action after action, as opposed to a valued human member of the team. Nic has also noticed feeling more disengaged from the actual work, which is disturbing given this is a field Nic has been passionate about since college and usually enjoys working in. The work hasn’t suffered, yet, but Nic is worried it might. What worries Nic most, however, is the symptoms remind Nic of a previous job, one from several years ago. In that workplace, things seemed okay on the surface. Work was being done, tasks were being executed, but there wasn’t a sense of belonging or teamwork. People just did their thing and that was that. They weren’t rude, but everyone did their role and then left for the day. That was how it was when things were good in their sector.
When the economy tightened in their sector, however, things weren’t good. People were still doing their thing in isolation and leaving for the day, but now there was tension everywhere in the air. Things were falling apart. Stress levels were through the roof, even over minor things. Everyone seemed to be suspicious of each other. By the time Nic left that role, the workplace was demoralizing and toxic.
Maybe Nic is being extra sensitive to it, but this current sense of isolation from the team feels a lot like the isolation from that previous experience. And Nic doesn’t want to go through that again. Nic wants to feel engaged with the work, but also with the rest of the team, and with the mission they are all striving toward.
Unitonomy is addressing challenges like Nic’s with tools designed to help teams that are located remotely feel connected and work better together. When a team is solving hard problems together, it’s going to take deep commitment to get through the tough moments. And commitment comes from a sense of belonging plus how thick the bonds run through the members of the team. Unitonomy addresses both belonging and bonding.
One of the elements missing most in remote work situations is the fun of being together — where bonding develops through internal jokes, shared experiences, and side conversations in the kitchenette. Unitonomy gets it and has apps to stimulate bonding through purposeful side conversations. Imagine taking 20 minutes each week with your team to make fun of yourself? Sound crazy? We dare you to try it. You might find yourself developing stronger bonds with your colleagues.
And as for belonging: Unitonomy offers Our Pillars as the application where definition is given to the organization’s mission, vision, values, and other foundational beliefs. Each individual’s sense of purpose is built through their sense of belonging, which is their mapping of their professional identity and values back to items like the organization’s mission, vision, and values.