Handshakes, hugs, and high-fives are some of the gestures everyone missed during the pandemic. While well-meaning messages do hold their value in uplifting one’s spirit, nothing beats delivering these messages in person. Add to these meaningful gestures like a simple tap on one’s shoulder or a wave of hello or goodbye. Especially because the entire global population was hindered from being physical with each other, everyone is simply raring to communicate face-to-face.
Compare these scenarios to the so-called virtual office. While your cozy bed sheets and near the kitchen have helped people in the work-from-home (WFH) setup to be productive, it’s not an entirely ideal setup for everyone. Some get charged with the energy their coworkers share with them, thus making them excited to be finally returning to the office. Also, being in the same conference rooms or private office builds company culture and community.
Let’s zero in on an important aspect of office work: meetings. Unless your team has gotten used to focusing on a coworker’s forehead during Zoom meetings due to poor camera angles or power outages and intermittent connections during meetings, consider the following points on why doing face-to-face meetings is still the best, even with the trend of a virtual setup. If you are still comfortable with your WFH roots, at least give face-to-face meetings a chance.
It’s not always about us; we are part of a professional community.
Let’s start with this point: while staying at home forever sounds enticing, many professionals are still opting to be in the office and eventually hold face-to-face meetings. Here are some of the reasons why:
Company executives would like to reconnect with their workforce.
Deliverables can be discussed through Zoom or Microsoft Teams, true. However, there is a better impact when leadership figures are personally there to discuss the company’s direction.
A study by The Washington Post mentions that more than eight out of ten executives chose face-to-face over virtual meetings. It’s easier for them to make up their minds over tough company decisions if they are in the presence of the people they govern, probably because there is immediate support or disdain from them, which helps in the decision-making process.
Your fellow employees can use the perk-up that an office meeting gives.
Mental health took a beating during this pandemic. A global survey revealed that of 70,000 respondents, only 56 percent felt they were connected to their colleagues, and 55 percent said their overall well-being was in tip-top shape.
In-person meetings can be a means to check up on everyone, not under the guise of a video conferencing app. Also, it’s small chitchat in meetings that helps build rapport and ultimately create connections within the community. In virtual meetings, small talk seems to be ignored. Through in-person meetings, employees can connect personally and professionally, which is a good start in mending one’s headspace after the pandemic.
Your place of work needs to rebuild its company culture.
Company culture was shattered because of having to work from home. Meeting in-person is important because they are a microcosm of how a company is supposed to function together. These meetings help workers practice the four Cs of an ideal workplace environment: connection, collaboration, creativity, and culture.
Being in a face-to-face setting contributes to robust interpersonal connections, which leads to stronger collaborations. Also, bouncing off ideas and sentiments with each other helps support each other’s creativity. It will also lead to a stronger company culture.
Interpersonal communication is stronger than in a virtual setup.
“But we can hold a meeting online, can’t we?” Sure, this has been the practice for the past two years. However, there are many nuances that an in-person meeting has that online meetings don’t. They contribute to more than just getting things done.
Non-verbal cues become more apparent.
Crossed arms, tapping on the table, or looking at one’s watch: these are signs that someone is not enjoying being in a meeting. Leaning forward while sitting, making eye contact, and nodding: one can easily notice these unconscious actions during a face-to-face meeting, which are signs of interest and engagement during conversations.
These non-verbal cues will help you adjust how you talk to your colleagues, depending on their engagement level. In a virtual setup, the meeting will only take place, and that’s it. There’s little to no regard if everyone actually agreed or if they were comfortable with what was discussed. In an in-person meeting, you see people’s reactions, like through hand gestures or facial expressions. Non-verbal cues communicate more than what is heard.
Improve your focus.
You might hate to admit this: working in the office will improve your focus. An organized workstation, getting in the flow of work like everyone else, putting your phone in your locker or drawer— while these will force you to do your work, you are setting yourself up to achieve what needs to be achieved and more.
The same goes for in-person meetings. There are no distractions like barking dogs or food aromas from your kitchen. Of course, your boss will appreciate your focus on your work, which shows through active participation in meetings.
Empathy and professionalism are better practiced.
Do you know that requests done face-to-face are 34 times more effective than ones done through email? Aside from ensuring that the message reaches the person, a particular intention in making the request can be detected by doing the gesture face-to-face. One can also understand the urgency of the request and why it is being made.
Empathy and professionalism are practiced well during in-person meetings. A sort of intimacy and sincerity comes when coworkers convene during meetings, and you see everyone’s smiles, thumbs up, and even telltale signs that they may not agree with what is discussed. These feelings can be addressed right then and there, and colleagues appreciate the candid approach not noticeable in an online setting.
So, if you have qualms about returning to the office, at least give in-person meetings a chance. Even if you aren’t always present in the office hallways to make small talk or in the office pantry to have lunch with your coworkers, a single in-person meeting with your team can already do wonders, to build trust and camaraderie within your professional community.
LET DAVIS COMPANIES HELP YOU BE IN A BRILLIANT PROFESSIONAL ENVIRONMENT.
Why is face-to-face communication important? It’s to build rapport between colleagues the way online means won’t. However, other important factors aside from communication make a workplace the best environment for professional growth. Commitment, integrity, relationships, and opportunities—put them all together, and you are on your way to being the best in your field.
Davis Companies is your utmost choice in reaping the rewards of becoming the best of yourself in the workplace. We share your passion for continuous improvement as we champion personal integrity and willingness to surpass expectations.
The Davis Way is the way towards success. Let us help you find your best job opportunity. Contact Davis Companies now.