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5 Ways to Stay Connected in a Virtual World

Updated: May 21

By Dr. Victoria Mattingly

This article was originally published on LinkedIn on March 17, 2020.


Are you one of the lucky ones who have been able to keep your job by moving all your work to the virtual world? You may just now be figuring out the IT that allows you to conduct business as usual in a very unusual setting—your home.



Once the tech is up and running, though, you'll find that these tools are only as good as the users behind them. And effectively communicating and connecting with your coworkers was most likely NOT part of your remote work IT crash course....if you got one at all.



Well, as an organizational psychologist, an experienced remote worker myself, and self-diagnosed extrovert who genuinely enjoys (and misses!) connecting with others at work, I've built this list of five, science-based tips for how you can stay connected to your fellow human while figuring out how to navigate this newly all-virtual workplace.



1. Use video.


That's right, take that sticker off of your laptop camera, hit the little video button, and let your coworker see your that lovely face of yours in all of its glory.



Steven Rogelberg, professor at UNC Charlotte and author of the book The Surprising Science of Meetings: How You Can Lead Your Team to Peak Performance, has found in his research that using video (rather than audio alone) improves the user experience and increases overall engagement during virtual meetings. As Rogelberg shares,


"The more cues there are, the more likely that someone will actively, you know, kind of be present. So try to default to video."

Anecdotally, I've found that if I enter a virtual meeting with my video on, the other participant/s end up turning on their video 9 out of 10 times, too. Us behavioral scientists call this a nudge, or an environmental cue (in this case, turning on my video) encouraging others to behave a certain way without explicitly telling them to do so.



Monkey see, monkey do.



2. Don't use mute.