Staying Connected Across the Miles

September 10, 2014 by Lynn Faughey

StayingConnectedWith both of my kids both back in college the house has suddenly gotten very quiet again. I think it takes my husband and I longer to re-adjust to them being gone than it does for either of them to adjust to being back at school. While I’m sure they’re jumping right back into school mode with their classes, studying and other activities, I’ve got to get used to the empty nest feeling all over again. More than once I’ve caught myself making dinner for four instead of two or listening for them to come home late at night, forgetting that they’re not here. I think back to the time that Rose and I went off to college and wonder how our parents adjusted? Not only were we twins heading off at the same time, we did it during a time where there was no texting, no video chats, and no Facebook! If they wanted to talk to us they either had to catch us on the landline, write us a letter or come for a visit. I know with both of my kids phone calls tend to be infrequent. It’s just not something their generation does as frequently as mine did. So what’s a mom to do?

As parents we either learn to adapt to communicating with our kids in a way that theyembrace or we get used to not hearing from them very much. I’m not crazy about that option so I’ve become an expert on Snapchat – one of the apps my kids enjoy using. Even though I might just be sending them a photo of the dog with a silly caption, they love it and it makes them still feel connected with home. In return they’ll send me a fun photo of something in their world – like their crazy football games – and all of a sudden they don’t seem so far away to me.

In Project Management we’ve become accustomed to working with people remotely. Much like connecting with my kids at college, connecting with team members that aren’t even in the same time zone is no longer the challenge it used to be. Weekly conference calls or teleconferences are excellent tools – helping everyone, near and far, to feel in the loop, but I wondered if there was more I could be doing to make those team members working remotely feel connected? I’m a strong believer that additional one on one communication is necessary in fostering a successful work environment. With the many technological choices at my fingertips, there’s no reason I can’t make even the furthest team members feel like they’re right down the hall. Like the strategies I’m using to stay connected with my kids, the same approaches apply to my team. As I get to know each of them it gets easier to find ways to communicate and it doesn’t take long to send a text,Tweet or e-mail regarding something that interests them. Whether it’s a Snapchat of a new recipe I’ve tried or an e-mail with an interesting article I know they’d enjoy, reaching out – even on a personal level – is a great way to stay connected.

It seems that every day a new way to talk to people, that doesn’t actually involve talking, is being created. And while I’m a big advocate of a good old face to face conversation, it’s not always possible. But with a little creativity it’s not so hard to stay connected to anyone, anywhere, anytime! So if you’ve been hearing about Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Linked In or any of the other apps that have people “talking”, maybe it’s time to check one out. Alternative ways of communicating are here to stay and as the saying goes, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!”.   So how do you use technology to communicate with your family, friends and team – send me a text, Snapchat, or e-mail. Or maybe write on my wall! I’d love to hear from you.

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