Geographical distance can, unfortunately, lend itself to social distance. Senior field manager and national general superintendent, Scott Chamberlain, shares some of his insights below on how to maintain meaningful connections.
Hello up there! Where y’all at?
EV Construction has a national reach for projects; from Texas to Pennsylvania, Florida to South Dakota and many states in between, we have men and women representing our company nationwide. Those who travel for their jobs, or spend the majority of their time working remotely, know all too well feeling connected to the company can be challenging.
Communicating with the EV Construction Holland (home) office while traveling nationally can be challenging. Oftentimes, I have felt like I was working on an island (cue the Gilligan’s Island theme song in your head now). Prior to the days of Zoom®, Microsoft Teams® and the like, our communication options were limited to email, phone calls and (way back when) smoke signals. None of these options allowed for “face-to-face” interaction and, with that, the ability to read expressions. By using newer technology, we are able to communicate more effectively. We are able to see our coworkers, not just hear them. We can see them smile, wrinkle their forehead or see frustrations that may have gone unrecognized through tone of voice alone. In this COVID era, virtual meetings are an everyday occurrence. Communication with everyone, including between field and office personnel, has drastically improved.
With a face-to-face platform, we feel even more connected. At first, I think many of us just wanted to hide behind the screen and not turn on the camera. We had to step out of our comfort zone and put ourselves on the monitor to learn how much being able to see each other really deepened the connection. Using these platforms, we are able to feel each other’s emotions or even share a smirk. For me, making these interactions a normal part of our operations company-wide has allowed me to be more comfortable with team members from every area of the company. Connections like this with team members allow us to be more open, increase participation and promote collaboration. We are more likely to open up and share thoughts and opinions when we feel comfortable. By seeing each other’s faces we can see that others are listening, they are engaged and taking stock in what we are sharing.
As the EV national construction team continues to grow, our leaders play a pivotal role in bringing the team together and encouraging interaction. The corporate leadership’s confidence in those of us representing the company from a distance offers encouragement for us to go out and share our culture nationwide. A successful team, working on a national scale, is not just well equipped with the tools of the trade, but also the emotional and mental support they need from headquarters.
With my new role as the national general superintendent, I want everyone to feel like part of the EV family no matter which state they are currently working in. I will connect with team members virtually, but also find ways to safely visit their project sites to show our field managers they are not on an island but are truly tied in. Additionally, I will send them a card on their birthday, recognize them corporately for accomplishments, encourage continued efforts through email, have a happy hour with them over Zoom® and call them to check on progress. I want to help EV Construction be unmistakable in Michigan, but also nationwide! At the end of the day, communication is key!