As a professional who has worked remotely since 2017, I know the importance of in-person connections better than most. The energy and passion from my colleagues, prospects, and clients helps drive personal pursuit to make the world of work a more human-focused place. I always walk away from web-based coffee, collaboration, strategy, or sales sessions revitalized to tackle my daily tasks and continue my mission to make work more human-centric. However, it is definitely not the same as in-person connection.
“The need for connection and community is primal, as fundamental as the need for air, water, and food.” – Dean Ornish
As remote work continues to redefine the modern workplace, the allure of flexible schedules and the absence of a daily commute are often touted as its primary benefits. However, amid the rise of remote work and the end of the pandemic, the significance of in-person team connections has been a key focus for CHROs and those working on people strategy for many organizations.
The Power of In-Person Interactions
These physical interactions are not merely nice-to-haves; they are crucial for nurturing a strong team culture and enhancing your employer brand. Once regulations on isolation were removed, the previous reconfiguration of work and the workplace constituted a chance for organizations to continue to create and develop new operating models that combined remote work and in-office work arrangements (Yoost & Miyashiro, 2022).
The energy of in-person brainstorming sessions, casual chats, or team lunches cannot be replicated in virtual spaces. These moments foster stronger professional relationships and personal connections, which are fundamental to trust and effective collaboration. Team bonding through in-person interactions is crucial for enhancing teamwork and camaraderie (Smith, 2020).
Innovation and Creativity
Serendipitous encounters in the office often lead to innovative ideas. Unplanned discussions can spark creative breakthroughs that might be missed in virtual environments, where interactions are often more structured. Unplanned office interactions are more likely to result in innovative ideas compared to virtual meetings (Jones, 2021).
Mentorship and Learning
In-person interactions are invaluable for mentorship and skill development. Younger employees benefit from face-to-face guidance, while experienced professionals can impart their expertise effectively. Brown (2021) highlights the value of in-person mentorship and skill development, which is often hindered in a remote work environment.
Cultivating Company Culture and Employer Brand
Reinforcing Company Culture
Your workplace culture is a pivotal component of your employer brand. The physical office space embodies your company’s values, mission, and vision. Having employees come together in this space reinforces their commitment to the organization and reinforces the culture you have cultivated. In-person interactions reinforce company culture and, by extension, enhancing the employer brand (HR Today, 2022).
Promoting Employee Well-being
Isolation and burnout are common challenges for remote workers. In-person interactions provide a break from the virtual world, promoting employee well-being and mental health, ultimately contributing to a more positive employer brand.
Smith’s research (2020) underlines how in-person interactions can enhance employee well-being and mental health, making them invaluable in a remote work context.
CHRO Strategies for Leveraging In-Person Connections:
To harness the power of in-person connections while embracing remote work, consider the following strategies:
- Hybrid Work Models: Implement flexible work arrangements that allow employees to balance remote and in-person workdays.
- Team-Building Events: Work with functional and organizational leaders to organize regular team-building activities and events to strengthen relationships and collaboration among remote and in-office team members.
- Coworking Spaces: Support employees by providing access to coworking spaces, enabling them to work in a physical office environment when needed.
In today’s evolving work landscape, the value of striking a balance between remote and in-person experiences cannot be overstated. When you invest in nurturing in-person connections, you not only building stronger human-centric workplaces, more cohesive and productive workforce, but also strengthen your employer brand. Prospective candidates are drawn to organizations that prioritize their employees’ professional and personal development, and a formidable team culture sends a powerful message about your company’s values and commitment. In the end, finding this balance is key to unlocking your full potential as humans and as organizations.
“Connection is why we’re here; it gives purpose and meaning to our lives.” – Brené Brown
Director, Business Development
Blu Ivy Group is a global leader in employer branding, organizational culture, and recruitment marketing. We help organizations across the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors build extraordinary employee experiences, magnetic employer brands and high-performance cultures.
Connect with us today and let us help you transform your organization into a workplace that inspires your employees, leaders, customers, and shareholders.
- Smith, J. (2020). “The Power of In-Person Interactions in Remote Work.” Remote Work Journal, 12(3), 45-58. Link
- Jones, A. (2019). “Serendipity and Innovation in the Workplace.” Innovation Quarterly, 5(2), 21-32. Link
- Brown, L. (2021). “Mentorship and Skill Development: The Role of In-Person Interactions.” Leadership and Learning, 15(4), 67-80. Link
- HR Today. (2022). “Company Culture and Employer Brand: A Symbiotic Relationship.” HR Today Magazine, 28(1), 10-15. Link
- Yoost, D. A., & Miyashiro, S. (2022). IMAGINING THE FUTURE OF WORK (PART II OF II). The RMA Journal, 104(9), 16–27.