The ‘virtual social’ as a new measure for inclusion

Author: Arthur Kennedy-Cochran-Patrick

Five years ago, I was heavily contemplating going back to university to study a PhD. While discussing whether it was worth my time, one colleague told me: ‘The world of work will still be the same in five years from now.”

Looking back at that statement after a pandemic, it’s plain to see that this could not be further from the truth. Ask the majority of (ex)-office workers today and you can see that the way we approach the world of work has shifted.

At Risilience, we have transitioned from working in an office full time to working remotely full time, bouncing back halfway to finally land at a new hybrid work life – where we have the flexibility to choose when we come to the office and when we work from home.

This has had significant influence on people’s workflow but it has also had a major impact on how we socialise within a company. Many people could view working remotely full time as potentially lonely but, with the rise of software to support a remote-working team, a new landscape has appeared, ripe with opportunities.

The increased presence of the ‘virtual social’ could be attributed to communication software that rose to the challenge of enabling everyone to contact each other with ease and on a much larger scale during the global pandemic. There have been cases where an online pub quiz was streamed to over half a million players – shattering world records. And more nuanced communication software now exists to simulate an environment where people can move from conversation to conversation in real time, akin to being in a real-life social space.

This is just one example of an opportunity to engage those who may not be able to join in-person socials and help foster positive relationships within a team.

For those who started a new role remotely (myself included) and, indeed, those who have chosen to continue that way, or run with the hybrid approach, having these social opportunities will be paramount to involving them in a company’s culture and ensuring they get the most out of their working life.