Getting Back to the Basics of Human Connection - Deepstash

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Adjusting to in-person working relationships

Adjusting to in-person working relationships

Returning to in-person work can feel a bit awkward after working remotely for the last year and a half.

While some may be eager to share experiences with coworkers, others may not be ready to talk about the emotional experiences they've been through. Personal interaction with other people may require more energy than expected and could feel like a drain. To reboot our in-person working relationships, we need to go back to the basics of human connection.

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Attunement: In tune and in sync

One of the most fundamental social skills is attunement - the ability to be aware of your own feelings while connecting with another individual and managing conflict.

Attunement consists of four components that can help you stay in sync with others, especially in difficult conversations.

  1. Prepare your nervous system.
  2. Listen to the other person and yourself.
  3. Practice empathy
  4. Keep expressing interest.

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Prepare your nervous system

You can cultivate a relaxed awareness, calm your nervous system and feel more grounded.

  • Just before your next meeting, pause, tilt your chin down and feel as if your head is gently suspended from above.
  • Relax your shoulders
  • Feel your belly expand with your in-breath
  • Relax with your out-breath.
  • Tune in to your environment.

Try to practice these steps daily on your own to help you in the heat of the moment at work.

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Pay attention to the other person (and yourself)

Notice the other person's cues. Consider what they're saying and expressing as very valuable to you.

As you listen, check in with yourself from time to time and notice your own feelings. If you feel tense, go to the first step - let your shoulders drop and relax as you take a mindful breath. Then focus on the other person.

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Practice empathy

We seldom have the same experiences or views as another person and should be tolerant of their perspectives. Cultivating self- and other-focused compassion can help in navigating conflict.

Consider the obstacles that may prevent you from understanding the other person, such as assumptions you may be making, what you need from them, or your own reactivity.

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Express interest

Communication is often more effective when we meet the other person where they are mentally and emotionally. 

Allow the other person to start with what's on their mind. By being open and interested, you foster a greater connection. In turn, they may be more open and responsive to you.

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