Jason DiFruscia looks at building and maintaining digital relationships during the COVID pandemic.

Socializing with other human beings seems like a distant memory these days as COVID-19 has completely changed the way businesses operate all over the world. In Canada, almost 40% of workers are now working from home. Globally, half of the workforce has gone remote. Even for those still going into the workplace, everything is different as public health measures restrict all forms of physical contact in an effort to halt the spread of the virus. Even with a vaccine on the way and high hopes for a return to “normal” in 2021, many workplaces will likely remain remote as businesses realize the reduced costs of operating remotely, and concerns about productivity while working from home is being proven wrong in many cases.

In light of this sudden transition away from in-person interactions, it is important to find new ways to network and build relationships, especially in a client-centered industry like law. One way to foster new relationships digitally and maintain existing relationships without face-to-face meetings is through social media. Social media websites are designed to connect people without in-person interaction, which makes them the perfect vehicle through which to build and foster relationships. Websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn make it easier than ever to connect with others, or at the very least, to advertise the products or services that a given business offers. Now is the perfect time for businesses to roll out new and comprehensive social media strategies to connect with more people.

Update your bios

On a personal level, you should update your social media accounts and try to engage with other members of the community in your particular sector. These digital interactions may be your best way to advertise yourself or your business with many people staying home more than ever before. Social media websites also offer easy ways for coworkers to connect and interact as an alternative to what would have been a chat around the proverbial water cooler.

By now, everyone has spent a seemingly endless amount of time on video calls. Although they will never quite live up to the real thing, video platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams are great tools for maintaining relationships during the pandemic.

Stay in touch

Another important way to maintain and grow relationships without in-person meetings is to consistently stay in touch with your contacts through e-mail, or a simple phone call. If you have not heard from your contacts in a while, reach out, even if just to check in. This will let your contacts know that you and your business can still be relied upon in these difficult times.

Finally, it is important to keep in mind that we are all in this together and that everyone is trying their best in light of the circumstances. Some people may need more time to re-connect. It is also important to keep in mind that everyone’s comfort level is different. For example, while some people may be comfortable doing a video call, others may not be. You should always be mindful and respectful of other people’s comfort levels when deciding how to connect with them.

Jason DiFruscia finished his articles at Harrison Pensa and is now an associate with the Restructuring, Insolvency and Bankruptcy group.