14 The 10-Second Commute Maybe you discover online that you actually have very similar ideas and values as this new person, or maybe you realize you don’t have as much in common as you thought, or worse, are surprised or put off by their radical posts! What then, especially if this is a person you have to continue working with? Or, if you see disclosures of a difficult personal event, will you still want to challenge them in your meeting the next day? Online, there’s also the danger of watching other relationships unfold. Did your work colleagues post a picture of getting drinks together? Did your boss offer a message of support to someone else? Then there’s the question of how deep to dive into the rabbit hole of another person’s online presence. Sure, it’s become common for colleagues- as-friends to connect on Facebook or follow each other on Twitter, but we have access to so much more. Is it appropriate or important to see what vid- eos that person has “liked” on YouTube? Or that they’ve commented on a supermodel’s Instagram? How about taking note of which things they found funny on TikTok? Each platform is a level of intimacy, with a slightly differ- ent layer of exposure to someone’s inner life. In the grand scheme of the human experience, connecting with people through social media is a very new way to get to know someone else, unlike anything that’s come before it. This provides a shortcut but also creates new wrinkles that can change the nature of workplace relationships. Forcing Connections We know that online interactions (meetings in particular) can be awk- ward. Which tools are best for each activity? Do any of them help build or reinforce personal connections? Beyond the tech itself, what skills do we need to make people feel at ease? Many have worked hard to break through that stiff, formal, distant vibe that exists when conversations are virtual, to get to the part where people can just be themselves. Increasingly, common wisdom dictates creating structure around moments of personal connection when working remotely. Advice includes having the first 15 minutes of meetings set aside for people to share informa- tion about themselves and their lives, scheduling virtual happy hours, creat- ing a separate group chat to allow people to share pictures of their holiday dinner or their weekend outing, and such.13 These connections make work interactions more pleasant, but the forced- intimacy feeling can sometimes chafe. (On command, when it’s your turn, tell us all something interesting about your weekend! And “It was good!” is not a good enough answer anymore. Instead, please curate your life for us on the spot. No pressure.) In person, getting comfortable with someone doesn’t always require so much conscious disclosure. When we sit in the same room for meetings, go to lunch, and greet each other in the hallways, we naturally
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