If you follow our socials you’ll have seen we met for a team outdoor pub lunch in Gloucestershire on Tuesday this week. We originally planned to have a picnic in a park, but our true to form British weather decided against that. Even though it didn’t go to plan, it was still wonderful to be together and our first meet up is definitely worthy of a blog write up!

As a team we’ve been working remotely for 8 years now, yet we’d always still meet one once a month together for a team meeting and throughout the month HR Consultants would be on-site doing client meetings, attending face-to-face networking events etc. Covid19 and ‘The Lockdowns’ well and truly put a stop to those face-to-face interactions and although virtually via Zoom and Teams we were meeting and able to continue to fulfil our duties to our clients and team – it was different.

Until meeting this week, we didn’t realise quite how different it was and how we’d all missed that connection; witnessing genuine gestures, facial expressions and simply being able to laugh together. Since the meeting on Tuesday new enthusiasm and motivation has been spurred by all team members.  We witnessed the intangible power of meeting face-to-face.

It’s also cemented our recent decision to invest in a small office space for the team, working from home and flexible working is still available and part of our business ethos but we felt our team needed a base and a place to connect more regularly with colleagues. We will be based at the lovely Celeritas Co-working space in Dursley.

All of us here at CitrusHR Consulting are feeling the positive impacts of meeting together and cannot wait to be able to see our clients face-to-face too.

Benefits of meeting face-to-face

Clearer communication
Being face-to-face with someone you can pick up on the small changes in voice tone, facial expressions, arm gestures and eye contact. It creates a more fluid conversation which increases creativity, thought provoking conversations and the productivity of a meeting. Additionally, it minimises those occasional awkward overlaps and technical interruptions that I’m sure we’ve all experienced over the last year! For the moment, masks will impact facial expressions slightly but it’s something we need to work with.  But even with masks, the power of being face-to-face is strong.

Less Disruptions
As amazing as technology is, there have been a few technical hiccups – incorrect meeting access details, sound problems, issues with battery life – the list goes on. Meeting face-to-face minimises this and promotes a more succinct and natural conversation that is focussed not on what’s happening on your screen and interruptions from e-mails popping up etc, but the people in front of you.

Strengthens relationships
Face-to-face meetings are vital to build up rapport, trust and meaningful relationships amongst both colleagues and clients. It offers a space for ‘small talk’ to take place and those natural one-to-one conversations happen amongst a group, providing opportunities to really connect with one-another.

Provides Purpose & Increases Attention
Meeting face-to-face gives individuals the motivation to be more productive with their time and can provide a purpose to their day, a reason to put on work attire again and leave the ‘home office’. It is also much easier to engage with individuals when in person as you can get instant feedback from body language, voice tone and gestures – although possible, it’s not the same when it’s online. You feel you’re really being listened too face-to-face which in turn improves attention and engagement.

Being Mindful when Meeting

As we’ve witnessed recently, the benefits of meeting face-to-face are powerful, however do be mindful that not everyone will be excited about face-to-face meet ups and may feel anxious at the thought of it. Try to manage these feelings through talking, reassurance and putting in place covid secure procedures such as: lateral flow testing, larger spaces, additional sanitation stations etc. It’s also important to choose somewhere that is covid secure and puts your team members at ease, you may already have offices setup but if not invest in making the space covid secure (see previous blog post on this here). Beginning with meeting outside can provide a great starting point, taking small steps but in the right direction.

We hope this provides some help and inspires you and your teams to meet up face-to-face, if you have any questions or comments on this, as always please do feel free to get in touch with us direct: CitrusHR Consulting, call us on 0844 854 6704 or email us at info@citrushrconsulting.com. We would love to hear from you.