The modern workplace can often be a noisy and chaotic space within which we find ourselves existing for a large portion of our working week. And with the current virtual office extension that is ‘back to back’ Zoom meetings, it is now more than ever, all too easy to become disconnected from those around us to protect our ability to carry out our own work. Focus shifts from ‘organisation’ and ‘team’ to ‘individual’ and while this might make us feel like we are achieving, we are also likely to be missing out on an important connection. That of our connection with our colleagues.


In 2019, the Office for National Statistics (ONS), reported that 12.4% of the UK population worked from home at some point during their working week. In 2020, that figure doubled to 25.9% – or 8.4 million people. Whilst many will welcome the option to work from home there will undoubtedly be a large proportion of that figure who will find it to be a lonely and disconnected scenario. Therefore, reconnection is now more important than ever.


Reconnect through active listening
One way in which we can reconnect ourselves back into the workplace is by learning to actively listen when we are engaging with those around us. This can be a powerful experience both for ourselves and for those who we are giving space to speak. We can do this both in person and also when communicating virtually with our colleagues.


Active listening is a particularly important skill for the employer to master as they set the tone of the workplace. By demonstrating that they are ‘hearing’ when in conversation, they show the employee that their voice, opinion, and presence are important to the employer and the organisation as a whole.


When one feels they are being heard they are more likely to respond with positivity and will be more inclined to fulfil their work role to a high standard. An outcome that will be beneficial to both the employee and the organisation at large.

‘The strength of the team is each individual member. 
The strength of each member is the team.’ 
~ Phil Jackson

Studies have shown that we spend 45% of our time at work listening to our colleagues.
Here’s how to make your 45% count!
Think back to a time in your life when you felt truly heard. Ask yourself what was it about the other person’s way of listening that enabled you to feel heard by them. Perhaps it was their open body language, strong eye contact or the way they reflected back to you things that you had said.
Then, the next time you are in the position of ‘listener’, embody the behaviours you recall that person having demonstrated towards you and note how the person now speaking to you responds to your truly hearing them.
And remember, when you actively engage with your colleagues, you set a tone that may just inspire them to embody your engagement skills when communicating with their colleagues.
When we connect with our colleagues we both strengthen ourselves and the team within which we work and this, in turn, creates a workplace environment within which oneself and the team will thrive.