What's necessary to build bonds in the distributed workplace?
May 17, 2021

The abrupt #WFH experiment of 2020 took everyone by surprise. To make matters worse, we had to jump head-first into it without the right tools for team communication.

The result: Zoom fatigue, and work styles that started to feel transactional and isolating.

At Commons, we’re taking cues from concepts social psychology understand the best way to connect and coordinate in the distributed office.

What's necessary to build bonds?

According to psychological research, there are two things required to build trust and connect with others — at work and in social life: proximity and similarity.

Proximity

People need to be near each other, over a long period of time, to enable frequent communication, especially unplanned, serendipitous interactions.

Similarity

A shared experience or background, such as being on the same team, or even same company, increases the sense of shared understanding among two individuals. In other words, if two people have something in common and frequent interaction, they’re more likely to develop a bond.

Of the two above factors, what’s missing most in today’s remote office is, obviously, proximity.

The tools that remote teams are using to replicate that feeling of being together simply don’t suffice.

At Commons, we believe that

feeling like you’re connected to your team is existential.

When you see and hear your team as if you’re in the same room — and at any given point, you can walk over and talk to them — you’re more likely to trust them and work better together.