Effective communication and social interaction are vital to developing and maintaining healthy relationships.

Some people view working digitally as a ‘lonely endeavour’. Quite the contrary; just because you’re not physically within someone’s environment doesn’t mean you can’t connect. Online workers build a connection with peers through a variety of digital media to create an environment where everyone gets to have that sense of belongingness despite the non-conventional office setting. And the term ‘everyone’ applies to the VA, their client, their client’s clients, suppliers, other VA’s… and so on.

The system is a two-way street – clients also need to enable and encourage interaction with their Virtual Assistants for them to feel that they are valued and appreciated. In the same way, Virtual Assistants must communicate with their clients to build a connection that will eventually contribute to the success of the business.

According to Gary Beckstrand, Vice President at O.C Tanner, when workplaces are built on effective peer interaction, a good number of employees are mostly likely to trust their teammates and eventually develop friendships. He also believes that having a positive work environment encourages employees and clients to feel optimistic and have a better sense of well-being.

Beckstrand added that real connection is only achieved when people know each other on a personal level. This means that communication at work doesn’t always need to be about the business. A little chit chat about your personal life won’t hurt. In fact, it can even help the team to have a kind of understanding and connection that goes beyond their digital workplace.

In a 2018 Global Culture Report, O.C Tanner revealed how focus groups feel about the importance of connection in the workplace.

1. People consider their workplace as their second home, and thus they consider their employers and teammates as second family. Most employees spend at least 8 hours a day at work (and some employers far more than that) and it is essential for them to create a connection with their peers in order to have a positive work experience.

2. Humans are social creatures. We always have that innate urge to interact with people. Being surrounded by people whom you can relate to promotes a sense of belongingness. In a work setting, employees need to have that connection with their clients and their co-workers for them to feel that they belong in the circle, that they are part of a team. In the same way, clients also need to have that kind connection with their employees for them to feel that they have a strong team working together to create a positive impact for their business. Lack of belongingness may lead to feelings of uncertainty and isolation which may affect the business in the long run.

3. A business that thrives on effective communication is set to conquer challenges and achieve greater things. When everyone in the team has that special connection and understanding, it is easy for them to work together towards a common goal and achieve success for the business as well as their careers and personal life.